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Great game for Stefon Diggs this week, but I'm a little worried. Will we see the same production from him once teams begin to game plan against Diggs? He's new, so teams don't know quite how to defend him. But what happens when they figure that out? -- David H. Rochester, NY
I expect Diggs to continue producing even if defenses begin game planning for him. I would imagine teams were game planning for Jets WR Brandon Marshall the past month, yet he still managed to rip off four straight 100-yard games. NFC North teams have game planned for Calvin Johnson the past nine seasons, but he's still put together a Hall of Fame-caliber career. Yes, defenses will put more of a focus on Diggs going forward, but that doesn't mean Diggs won't find a way to keep producing.
The first half the defense shut the Chiefs passing game down and played lights out. The second half was a different story. What changed in the second half and how concerning is it that Alex Smith put up 250 yards after halftime? -- Jamie H. Mishawaka, IN
The defensive performance wasn't perfect, but it was dominant at times and more than good enough to win the game. Kansas City scored just 10 points the entire game…allowing 10 points per game will lead to a lot of victories. With that being said, there were defensive letdowns during the course of the game. The 42-yard Albert Wilson touchdown on a 3rd and 10 WR screen comes to mind. But Smith threw 11 passes in the first half and 26 in the second half, so the Chiefs were bound to start picking up yardage eventually. At the end of the day, let's remember that the Vikings defense allowed just 10 points on the afternoon. That's a job well done.
I still think the passing game needs to step up quite a bit if we are going to go deep into the playoffs. We can't rely on Adrian Peterson to carry us. Your thoughts? -- Bill Keech Le Center, MN
Complementary football. Whether it's within a game or from week-to-week, the best teams are those that play complementary football. If the offense turns the ball over deep in its own territory, the defense must respond by not surrendering a touchdown. If the offense gets backed up, the special teams must find a way to flip the field position. If the passing game is slow to go, the running game must pick up the slack for the time being. The Vikings played great complementary football on Sunday and that's a big reason they were able to come away with the victory. The defense was dominant for much of the game, the offense put together a drive that resulted in a FG after the defense surrendered 10 unanswered points, and the special teams group chipped in with three FGs and just 63 return yards allowed on the afternoon.
No part of the team is playing well enough for head coach Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff to rest easy. But that's the nature of this game. The goal is to keep improving week-after-week and keep trying to stack wins together in the process, with the ultimate goal of peaking at the right time, getting into the postseason and trying to make a run.
How far along is Teddy as far as being able to read what's in front of him? The great QBs always slow the game down in fast situations and get the job done. How do you feel Teddy ranks as a student of the game and how do you see him absorbing the information thrown at him. -- Dave D.
Both coach Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner have spoken glowingly about the manner in which Bridgewater goes about studying and preparing. In an interview we did with him in August, ESPN's Trent Dilfer went out of his way to explain that the amount of information Bridgewater can process and the speed at which he can process it is impressive. Does he still make mistakes? Yes, he does. He threw two interceptions on Sunday against Kansas City and the second was on a throw he'd love to have back. But that is part of being a young QB in this League.
How is Anthony Barr developing as a pass rusher and is he perfecting his finesse moves? -- Ali
Barr is a natural pass rusher. Rushing the passer as a stand-up outside LB is something he did frequently while playing on the edge in UCLA's odd-man front. Of course he still has a lot to learn and can improve quite a bit given that he's only played in 17 career games, but he is off to a good start as a pass rusher. One interesting thing to note on Barr, though, is that defensive coordinator George Edwards said last week he's noticed Barr is starting to feel more comfortable dropping into pass coverage. Barr has already made a ton of plays as a pass rusher and in the run game, so if he can continue impacting games as a defender in pass coverage, that will only increase his playmaking ability in Zimmer's defense.