The Vikings are 1-1 after their road loss to the Steelers* *Sunday afternoon.
Despite struggles on both sides of the ball, a number of Minnesota's players had solid performances in Pittsburgh.
Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com highlighted the play of Anthony Barr, Everson Griffen and Xavier Rhodes on defense. Coller wrote:
Big Ben (Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger) threw in [Antonio] Brown's direction eight times while he was guarded by Rhodes, and the 2014 and 2015 leader in receptions only grabbed four of those passes for 54 yards according to Pro Football Focus data. Brown did draw one penalty on Rhodes for 22 yards.
Coller called Rhodes' performance "one of his most impressive" after he was initially listed as "questionable" for Sunday's game due to a hip injury. Anthony Barr was also limited in practice during the week but played well against the Steelers.
Rhodes wasn't the only defender to have a good game against the Steelers. Linebacker Anthony Barr, who is looking to bounce back from a down 2016 season, was targeted seven times and only allowed 36 yards in the passing game, picked up one QB hurry and helped contain Le'Veon Bell to just 3.2 yards per carry.
Coller also drew attention to Everson Griffen, who he said had a "dominant game on the edge." Griffen recorded two takedowns – his 50th and 51st career sacks – and added two pressures.
Mark Craig takeaways include Cook, special teams performance
Following Sunday's game, Mark Craig of the *Star Tribune *posted his "five extra points" column in which he reviews takeaways from the contest.
Among his observations were three special teams topics, including Minnesota's fake punt on their first series of the second half.
Craig said he "can't argue with the decision to have punter Ryan Quigley throw his first NFL pass." He wrote:
*When Quigley attempted the fake punt on fourth-and-4 from his 36-yard line, the Vikings had 73 yards and five first downs early in the third quarter. They trailed only 14-3, but needed a boost from an unlikely source. Enter Quigley and tight end Blake Bell. And Steelers linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who read the play and defended it perfectly. "We thought Blake would be [open]," Quigley said. "I wish I was Michael Vick and could think on my toes and get out of there and make something happen." *
Craig also addressed a missed PAT by Kai Forbath and a penalty charged to the Vikings on a Steelers field goal attempt.
He wrapped up his takeaways with a praise of Dalvin Cook in his second regular-season outing.
A week after rushing for 127 yards, Cook's young legs continued to dazzle, particularly on a 25-yard run to within inches of the goal line. Cook gets to the edge quickly, which then shifts the numbers in his favor.