The Vikings defense feasted on Sunday, setting a new franchise record with 10 sacks of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
In his weekly column, Albert Breer of The MMQB topped his list of “Ten Takeaways” with Minnesota’s defense. Breer pointed out that the Vikings have held each of their past four opponents under 300 total yards, and they didn’t allow the Lions to score a touchdown in the teams’ first of two matchups.
Breer spoke with Vikings safety Harrison Smith after the game.
“We have a lot of really good players,” Smith told Breer. “We all want to make plays all the time. And sometimes that can hurt you. When you just get back to just saying, ‘OK this is what I gotta do, I’m gonna go do it, and I know the guy next to me is gonna do it, the guy in front of me, he’s gonna do it.’ Then everything takes care of itself. You don’t have to be Superman out there.”
Smith used Danielle Hunter’s scoop-and-score after a Stafford fumble to illustrate his point.
“That’s guys up front getting off the ball and getting pressure, and guys on the back end, linebackers covering,” Smith said. “And then once he starts scrambling, just everyone running like a madman to the ball. That’s when opportunities come.
“It may look like luck, but there’s another play in the game where Xavier [Rhodes] strips the ball, and we got three other guys swarming to the ball. Unfortunately, the ball is just out of bounds, instead of us picking it up and scoring,” Smith continued. “But we get another chance at that later because everyone is running to the ball. Good things happen when the whole team is running like your hair’s on fire.”
The Vikings were my Super Bowl champion in August, by the way. Sunday did make me feel a little better about that.
Thielen effective despite missing out on record
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen entered Sunday’s game against the Lions with eight consecutive games of at least 100 receiving yards, which was tied with former Lions WR Calvin Johnson for the league record.
Thielen’s 22 yards through the air against the Lions fell short of his chance to be the sole record holder, but NFL.com’s Austin Knoblauch pointed out that Thielen positively influenced the passing game nonetheless. Knoblauch wrote:
Unfortunately, with Stefon Diggs not playing because of a rib injury, the Lions talented secondary found it easy to double-team Thielen and stay all over him in the slot. Thielen was limited to 22 yards on four catches, but he still made a big impact even if it wasn't on the record book. He made a nice 2-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter and he took some pressure off routes for Laquon Treadwell, [Chad Beebe, who was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad Saturday] and Kyle Rudolph. Dalvin Cook also was a threat in the short passing game, recording four catches for 20 yards to supplement the 89 rushing yards he tallied.
Knoblauch also spotlighted the Vikings defense, saying the front seven “terrorized” Stafford with 10 sacks (including one by cornerback Mackensie Alexander) “in a truly dominant performance that once again heralded Minnesota as one of the NFC’s top teams.”
“The performance underlined how dominant the Vikings (5-3-1) are up front,” Knoblauch said.
Former WR Don Beebe reacts to son’s first NFL game
On Saturday, the Vikings promoted Chad Beebe from practice squad to the 53-man roster.
On Sunday, the undrafted rookie made his NFL debut. Beebe caught all three passes thrown his way, including receptions that converted a fourth down and a third down.
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press connected postgame with Beebe’s family, including former NFL receiver Don Beebe. Tomasson wrote:
Don Beebe, who played in the NFL from 1989-97 and was in four Super Bowls, said after Sunday’s game that 21 family members made the trip to the Twin Cities, most from the Chicago area. The family members met with Beebe after the game, giving him hugs and taking photos.
“I’m so proud of him. It’s a little surreal,” Beebe’s mother, Diane, told Tomasson.
Don Beebe told Tomasson it’s a different experience being in the stands for a game.
“Normally, I’m pretty nervous before games because when I played, I could control it, but as a dad, I can’t,” said Don Beebe. “But this game, I just felt calm. I knew he was ready and knew that they had some plays designed for him on third down. He’s waited a long time for it.”
View game action images as the Vikings take on the Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.