Lunchbreak: Vikings Talent, Experience Overcame Jets in Blustery Ballgame

The Vikings have now won three games in a row, thanks to a 37-17 defeat of the Jets Sunday afternoon.

NFL.com’s Austin Knoblauch delved into three observations from the contest, headlining the trio of takeaways with Minnesota’s offensive performance. He wrote:

Both teams had their struggles in the blustery conditions of MetLife Stadium, but the Vikings experience and talent on both sides of the ball overcame the Jets best efforts.

[…]

After slicing through the Jets defense on the first drive of the game, [Kirk] Cousins struggled to find rhythm as the Vikings settled for punts on six of the next seven possessions before halftime. It took until the middle of third quarter for Cousins to tap into the efficiency that has him on pace for the best season of his career. Completing passes to Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Brandon Zylstra, Cousins put together an impressive nine-play, 74-yard drive that demonstrated why he is among the NFL leaders in completion percentage, passing yards, TD-INT ratio and 300-yard games. Late in the game, Thielen tied Charley Hennigan’s NFL record for the most 100-plus yard games to start a season with seven when he caught a 21-yard pass.

Knoblauch also took a look at the “jagged promise that has characterized” Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold as well as the injuries that the Vikings weathered.

Linebacker Anthony Barr left the game in the second half with a hamstring, and it’ll be something to monitor moving forward. [Xavier] Rhodes exited late while battling [Robby] Anderson in coverage on a fourth-quarter pass but was standing on the sideline in the final minutes of the game. With the temperature on the Vikings schedule about to go up a notice (upcoming games against the Saints, Lions, Bears, Packers, Patriots), Minnesota’s win keeps [it] in the top echelon of the NFC hierarchy.

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Doing ‘just enough’ in run game was key for Vikings

The Vikings didn’t break a hundred yards rushing against the Jets, but what they did accomplish on the ground helped them be successful.

Latavius Murray played an integral role for the second straight week, rushing for 69 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

In a look back at the game by analytics site Pro Football Focus, the run game was highlighted as Minnesota’s “Key to the Game.” The PFF analysis team wrote:

The Vikings did just enough on the ground, which allowed their play-action game to open up. Thielen surpassed 100 receiving yards for the seventh straight game and ultimately helped the Vikings get their third consecutive win.

PFF also evaluated Cousins, saying there were ups and downs for the Vikings quarterback.

On a windy day in New York, we witnessed the good and bad of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He threw the ball backwards on an attempted throwaway which resulted in a fumble, but he also made a couple of accurate throws downfield which resulted in significant gains. Cousins finished with 241 yards and two touchdowns.

The Vikings defensive front was praised for playing well against the Jets run game, limiting New York to 71 yards on the ground.

The play from the defensive tackles was too strong for the Jets offensive line, and that allowed linebacker Eric Kendricks to flow to the ball quickly.

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