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Dobbs' path to the end zone on a 7-yard touchdown run was incredible, and Hockenson's all-out efforts that resulted in a historic first half laid the groundwork for Minnesota's fifth consecutive victory and improving to 6-4 on the season. Prolific pass catching tight end Steve Jordan, a Vikings Ring of Honor member, was interviewed during the game as part of Legends Weekend.
The yearly reunion also featured Saturday's surprise unveiling of the Dennis Ryan Equipment Room at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. Ryan is beloved by generations of Vikings colleagues, as well as former and current players.
The scene of sheer happiness on the faces of those who were in the room for Ryan's recognition is a sight I'll fondly recall for years.
As for current Vikings, congrats to rookie Mekhi Blackmon for his first career interception and second-year running back Ty Chandler for his first career touchdown. Chandler also provided my favorite quote after the game when asked about his impression of Dobbs:
"Smart dude, so hopefully he can teach me a little something and I can go to space with him," Chandler said.
A statement game and quality win. The best first half of the season on both sides of the ball. Defense gives up 3 points total in the first half and no late second quarter points; the offense puts up 21 in the second quarter. Most effective and well-executed offensive game of the season. Kevin O'Connell definitely figured out how to use Josh Dobbs to his strengths, and the Dobbs-led offense executed. Too bad we let [Jameis] Winston and the Saints hang around the whole second half. Here are my 3 Ups and 3 Downs for the game:
1. Opening possession of the game, drive for a FG on offense, matched with Saints opening drive stop and punt for our defense. Nicely done.
2. Three second quarter TD drives. All of them included amazing plays by both Dobbs and Hock, and Chandler running with authority. It was so fun to see Dobbs scramble and make plays and score TDs. Easily the most impressive back-to-back-to-back offensive possessions of the season. Very nicely done.
3. Overall defensive play by the Vikings and the multiple fourth quarter stops of the Winston-led Saints offense.
1. Vikings runs for losses. I sure wish we could eliminate them.
2. The defense gave up a third quarter TD drive to give the Saints momentum and keep them in the game, which was sustained by the offense's unfortunate three-and-out.
3. Missed FG gives Saints great field position to start the fourth quarter again sustaining the Saints momentum.
Exciting game, and I thought well played by the Vikings. Looking forward to the Broncos.
— Jeff L.
The run of three consecutive touchdown drives (of 75, 82 and 76 yards) in the second quarter featured creativity and the further merging of Dobbs' abilities into an impressive offensive scheme, even without the likes of experienced receivers Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn.
An option run by Dobbs on third-and-1 gained 11 to move the Vikings across midfield on the drive that ended with Chandler's beautifully designed and flawlessly executed TD run on a direct snap.
Jordan Addison started the next possession with a 29-yard reception. Three plays later, Dobbs connected with Hockenson for 13 on third-and-6 and with the tight end again for another 21 on the next snap. The scramble touchdown by Dobbs on third-and-6 from the New Orleans 7 adds an element that should be worrisome for opposing defenses.
The missed field goal was from 54, so there's always the risk because it awards the ball at the 44 and can provide a momentum swing. It followed the delay between the third and fourth quarters, but it was probably worth attempting. A make on that one would have created a 30-11 lead.
The Saints capitalized on that starting field position and scored in 3:15, but the Vikings played enough complementary football on defense and special teams to ride out the win.
View postgame celebration photos from the Vikings 27-19 win over the Saints in Week 10 of the 2023 season.
Yes. We are playing Vikings ball again! Dobbs hit the ground running. Hockenson was a rockin' son. Number 3 (Jordan Addison) and number 2 (Alexander Mattison) and number 32 (Chandler). Not to mention 4 (Brandon Powell) and 44 (Josh Metellus). [Danielle] Hunter and [D.J.] Wonnum, and always the Hitman (Harrison Smith). But I wonder if having a Week 13 bye is an improvement over the Week 7 byes we've had the last couple years. Seems like it would be.
— Sandra Deneen
Personally, because I like hiking so much, the past three years of Week 7 byes have provided some great opportunities to enjoy fall colors — might need some snowshoes or an extra layer or two by the time this year's bye rolls around.
But with the NFL regular season lasting 18 weeks, a Week 7 placement is slightly early, given the aggregate effects of a physically demanding sport.
So far this season, I think the Week 13 bye allowed Minnesota's coaches and players to segment the year and set some legitimate "by the bye" goals after such a disappointing start to the season. After going 0-3 in September, the Vikings went 4-1 in October and are 2-0 so far in November with a chance of getting to 8-4 at the bye.
Anytime a team starts rolling, there's a question of trying to carry the momentum on the other side of the bye. I think it will be a welcome spot for Minnesota to rest before a compelling final five games that include two with division-leading Detroit.
Loved the first half offense, disgusted with the second half.
Why is Kevin O'Connell resorting to the conservative run game when we have sizable leads? We're not a run team this year. I don't understand the play calling of trying to run the ball to eat clock when Minnesota is not that team.
I've been a fan ever since I could remember (2007 — I was 8), and every head coach has always played this conservative style of play calling when we have big leads. I don't care if we're up 21 or 50 points. Keep putting up points, keep being aggressive. Don't lay off the gas until at LEAST halfway to go in the fourth quarter. Historically, this franchise can't keep leads.
Also, how was Danielle Hunter called for hands to the face when it was the offensive lineman who ripped his helmet off and grabbed his facemask? Why would you not go for it on fourth-and-inches or at the very LEAST throw the challenge flag there? Josh Dobbs absolutely had the first down. Kevin O'Connell did not have a good coaching game in the 2nd half at all.
Great to see the defense step up again with two picks. Tired of blowing leads and letting teams creep back in. Excited to see more Josh Dobbs, nervous about when his inevitable crash is coming....
— Z. in St. Peter, Minnesota
You are not alone in sending in lamentations that the good times did not keep rolling on offense in the second half.
The Vikings racked up 297 net yards in the first half against a defense that was allowing 304.3 per game.
The Saints also entered Week 10 allowing only 21.1 points per game, so they are a sound group on that side of the ball.
Minnesota did look poised to answer New Orleans' second touchdown drive with one of its own, but a 29-yard scamper by Chandler was wiped off the board because of a holding call. The 10-yard mark-off was followed by the lone sack for the Saints, moving the ball all the way from the 29 to the 44 and taking the Vikings out of Joseph's range.
O'Connell was asked about balancing wanting to run the ball and clock vs. trying to keep the foot on the gas with the pass.
"I think it comes down to knowing the fact that you want to be aggressive, but you also want to walk out of the stadium still winning the turnover battle. And I was that confident in our defense that if we didn't give them anything and, you know, we played smart with the clock, that we could get it down to a situation where maybe we could get to 31 and get a touchdown on that play. We did and that would take us to 34. And then, you know, it gets pulled back, and we don't convert and we ended up punting and try to pull them deep there. But, you know, I've got to try to find that balance where I do believe in our guys and I do believe that I can stay aggressive for four quarters with our guys. And I'll continue to work through that to make sure I'm giving them some premium ops. We had some chances there that maybe we didn't make the play. But there were certainly few that I'd like to have back and knowing the situational management and milking the clock is one thing but staying aggressive is something we've got to do, as well."
Hello, I am a bit disappointed that we decided to take our foot off of the gas. Please send this to Coach O'Connell. Also, please inform Coach [Brian] Flores about looking at film of the Texans vs. Bengals for [Week 15] game against those kitty cats. They can never seem to beat the Texans. Texans always have their # when they play them. SKOL!!
— Michael Orr
After losing their first three games in their series (all within Houston's first four seasons as a franchise), the Texans have gone 9-2 against the Bengals (including Sunday's win and a pair of playoff games).
The Vikings will be trying to overcome some bad history against the Bengals in Cincinnati.
Minnesota is 1-7 all-time when visiting the banks of the Ohio River (and 6-0 in the series when close to the Mississippi River).
Flores and the entire defense continue to impress. Minnesota's defense played significant time and key plays without Jordan Hicks, it's primary "green dot" communicator and a great leader, yet continued to play well against the Saints.
I don't have full specifics on his weekly approach, but I'm sure he's comprehensive in his search for ideas. He's also been effective in his implementation.
In any case, hopefully, we'll be able to announce soon when the NFL decides that game will be played (either Saturday or Sunday of Week 15).
View game action photos from the Vikings vs. Saints Week 10 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
We are so much better this year: three sacks and seven QB hits. I watched in person the Chargers vs. Lions. Chargers only had 2 QB hits. I am glad our defense is aggressive.
— Gerald Goblirsch
Was working from the press box during the Chargers-Lions game, so didn't it in great detail — just seemed like every time I glanced up, someone was in the paint for a touchdown celebration.
The aggressiveness for the Vikings this season continues to pay dividends. The dominance in the first half was gorgeous and a bit more like we've seen in so many Vikings home games over the years. Minnesota allowed just 110 net yards and only one of five Saints third downs to be converted.
Vikings just keep winning, defying odds and predictions of critics and prognosticators! The list of backup and dinged up players that continue to step up and contribute mightily in this string of wins is huge.
— Dale Kruse
The togetherness for this team has been pretty impressive, along with contributions from players who aren't mentioned as frequently as some.
Jonathan Bullard comes to mind as a strong, savvy vet who enables things to happen for teammates. Bullard recorded one of the sacks Sunday — his first since 2019 when he was with the Cardinals.
A roster that has plenty of famed talent is showing it also has depth, which is absolutely key over the course of an NFL season.