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Monday Morning Mailbag: Have The Vikings Found Their Identity?

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Love Kevin Stefanski’s approach. Great offensive teams always throw in new wrinkles that keep defenses off balance and that’s what we did. I’m sure the continued improvement of our protection up front is allowing Stefanski to get more creative and I love it! Our offensive guys played really, really
well!
-- Bernie

Balance. It’s a word we use a lot when talking about offense. Offensive balance is not calling a similar number of runs and passes in a given game or situation. True balance is being able to run the ball when you need to run it and also being able to pass the ball when you have to pass it. On Sunday, the Eagles designed a good plan to contain Dalvin Cook. That meant the Vikings had to rely on the passing game. And the passing game came through. Kirk Cousins was able to carry the load on a day when Cook was being watched. At halftime, the Vikings had called two more passes (17) than runs (15), with 201 of the 250 net yards gained through the air. At the same time, the Vikings needed to be able to run the ball in the second half to maintain their lead and eat up the clock. They were able to do just that, with rookie Alexander Mattison carrying the ball 13 times for 50 yards in the second half and Cook finding the end zone to cap off an eight-play, 88-yard drive to seal the game in the 4th quarter.

Do you think this team has found its identity?
-- Joshua
California

The team wasn’t struggling to find its identity. Mike Zimmer wants to be a physical team that plays great defense, is solid on special teams and is balanced on offense. He’s always wanted that. What we saw on Sunday was the best execution of that idea to date in 2019, especially considering the caliber of opponent. The Eagles are good. Their defense is salty, their roster has a lot of talent and they are well coached. But the Vikings were better today in all phases and were particularly sharp early in the game, late in the game and in crucial situations throughout the game.

Another perfect game from Dan Bailey! More importantly, the offensive line had their best game, hands down, so far this season. Coming in down Josh Kline and then losing Riley Reiff, that was impressive. Great back-to-back wins. Time to lock in on the Lions! Skol!
-- Kyle Alexander

Big-time credit should go to the offensive line in this game, and that includes position coaches Rick Dennison and Andrew Janocko. Two starters were out for the bulk of the game, yet the Vikings surrendered only one sack and they were able to rush for 122 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries. This all came against a very good, stout defensive front seven.

Another great “Between the Lines”!! You and PA nailed it as only you two can. You left nothing more to say, so I won’t try. Skol
-- John Stephens

Thank you for watching Between the Lines! But hey, don’t hesitate reaching out and providing your analysis, thoughts or questions. We love incorporating them into our content, whether it be right here in the Mailbag, on the Pick 6 or in the Minnesota Vikings Podcast. We love talking football with people who love talking football, so send ‘em in!

The game wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s lots of things to be happy about. First, Philadelphia has a stout defensive line but we ran the ball effectively. Next, our passing game was prolific, thanks to the offensive line and Cousins throws to Diggs and Adam Thielen. Thirdly, the defense gave up some yards and Philadelphia made a comeback, but the defense made the big plays (turnovers, sacks and stops on 4th down) when it was needed. I wish these Vikings would’ve shown up against the Packers and Bears. We’d be leading the division if that had happened.
-- Gary Gross

Had the Vikings lost this game, we’d be talking about how much football there’s left to be played and the fact that Sunday’s game was just 1/16th of the schedule. So since we won the game, it’s important to keep those same lessons in mind. The most important game is the next game on the schedule, and for the Vikings that is a date with the Detroit Lions. The Vikings are 0-2 in the division and could use this win, so they’ll be back to work on Monday trying to devise a plan to win their third game in a row. With all of that said, there’s no doubt this win is a confidence-builder and it serves as a sign that this team has the football character and talent to win big games. On to Detroit!

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