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Monday Morning Mailbag: Kendricks' Strong Play, Rash of Penalties, Cousins' Performance, More

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Great win with lots to like! We were able to pass and run the ball. No turnovers. Fewer penalties. When is the last time the Vikings shut out a team and do you think we can get one this year? I know it is not easy.
-- Gerald Goblirsch

Shutouts are indeed rare in the NFL. The last time the Vikings shut out another team was at Green Bay in Week 16 of the 2017 season; Aaron Rodgers did not play in that game. The Vikings are playing near shutout-caliber defense, though. Since Green Bay took a 21-0 lead early in last week’s game, the Vikings defense has been on the field for 20 series. Those 20 series have ended in punts 12 times, turnovers five times, touchdowns only twice and then there was one missed field goal. Opposing offenses have registered one or zero 1st downs in 13 of the 20 drives and they are averaging only 22.3 yards per series. That is domination by the Vikings defense over about seven quarters of football.

What a great game. I have felt that Eric Kendricks has played at a Pro Bowl level for our Vikings the last couple years and has been overlooked, but the game he had today was one everyone should take notice. Thanks, Mike, for what you do! Skol!
-- John McGuire
Lone Pine, CA

You hear coaches say someone played “like their hair was on fire.” Well, that was Kendricks on Sunday. He made the first tackle of the game for the Vikings defense and he was in on seemingly every other tackle the rest of the way. Even more, he wore the green dot on Sunday and handled communication responsibilities with Anthony Barr sidelined due to injury. Kendricks is smart, instinctive, twitchy and plays the game with passion. He’s a tremendous asset on the Vikings defense and he was a complete standout on Sunday.

After the let down in Green Bay, the team really knuckled down and got it done today. A great team win! The only thing to point at is the penalties. Another holding call on our new center. Again, what do you think needs to be done to stop the penalties? We go into Chicago on Sunday afternoon and I think we have to be perfect. Your thoughts? It will be interesting to see if the balanced Vikings offense can keep the wins rolling. Skol Vikings!
-- Mike Boswell
Goodwin, SD

Head Coach Mike Zimmer referenced the penalties in his postgame press conference, so I know he’s going to reference them in meetings and at practice this week. As for the game in Chicago next week…it’s going to be tough. The Bears are the defending NFC North champs and they have a great defense. Plus they have an offense that can be dangerous when clicking on all cylinders. I can’t say the Vikings have to be perfect to get a win next week, but they have to be pretty close to perfect. They played well in all three phases on Sunday against Oakland and it will take that type of effort and execution to get a win at Soldier Field on Sunday. Can’t wait for that game!

With the obvious struggles in the passing game with Kirk Cousins, why wouldn’t you use a nice comfortable lead in the 4th quarter to maybe work on some things and build some confidence in Kirk? I would do that rather than not attempting any passes at all. Would seem like a great opportunity to do just that.
-- Jeff White
Seaford, VA

Sunday was a good first step for the passing game in their effort to bounce back from the Week 2 performance. Cousins completed 71.4% of his passes, averaged 8.3 yards per attempt, did not take a sack and did not turn the ball over. All of those numbers are exceptional and all of those numbers would be huge next week at Soldier Field. On Sunday against Oakland, the Vikings had a big lead and the only way the Raiders could get back into the game was if the Vikings made mistakes, such as turning it over and giving the Raiders short fields. Could they have shredded the Raiders secondary or even just worked out some wrinkles? I don’t know. But would we all really have left the stadium feeling more confident about the passing offense just because it shredded a Raiders team that was down by three scores? Probably not. The Vikings were wise to lean on the run game, milk the clock and get out of there with a win.

What is the word on Kline? See Dozier was in at right guard.
-- Jason Wenzel
@wenzelj64

Kline left the game and entered concussion protocol early in the 3rd quarter. Up until that point, the Vikings had not allowed a sack and they had 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, so Kline was a part of a great effort by the offensive line. Dakota Dozier did fill in for Kline, and from that point forward he was a part of an offensive line effort that allowed zero sacks and blocked for running backs to amass 115 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries. I would expect Dozier to remain the guy who plays in Kline’s place for as long as Kline is in the protocol.

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