EAGAN, Minn. — Each week, The Athletic's Zak Keefer looks around the league and highlights his biggest takeaways. After the Vikings Week 10 victory (and fifth-straight win) Minnesota was the focus of Keefer's column.
On the Vikings he wrote: Josh Dobbs for MVP?
The Vikings are having the strangest season in football: They started 0-3, lost their franchise quarterback for the year, have been without their All-Pro wideout for a month, and yet, somehow, have won five in a row.
Dobbs' 312 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns were enough in Minnesota's 27-19 victory against New Orleans.
"This is fun," he said after the game. Hard to blame him. A surprise move at the trade deadline is paying off in a big way for a Minnesota team that suddenly is back in the NFC North race.
Dobbs' 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter might have been the game's biggest play, a highlight-reel scramble that he somehow turned into six points. So far, Dobbs has 426 passing yards, 110 rushing yards and no interceptions in his first two [games] with the Vikings, becoming the first player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, 100 rushing yards and no picks in his first two games with a team.
Tight end T.J. Hockenson was incredible for the Vikings, hauling in 11 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. A season that felt doomed early suddenly has new life. … With the Broncos and Bears up next, the Vikings (6-4) could very well just keep on winning and push the Lions (7-2) in the division race.
Keefer offered thoughts on the Packers, Giants, Patriots and Cowboys as well. **Click here** to read The Athletic's full story.
Craig's Takeaways highlight run defense, curious penalty
Star Tribune writer Mark Craig **shared his five takeaways** following the Vikings' 27-19 win over the Saints on Sunday at U.S. Bank.
Craig wrote about how Head Coach Kevin O'Connell and the run defense came through for Minnesota:
The Saints had five three-and-outs in their first 10 possessions mainly because they rushed for a season-low 65 yards. The second half opened with a three-and-out when Harrison Phillips went low and Jordan Hicks high to stuff Jamaal Williams for no gain on third-and-1. "[Williams] hit my arm first, and I can guarantee you there will be a nasty bruise," Phillips said. "That's a hard play for me or Jordan to make alone. That was one of those hidden big plays." The Vikings have allowed 82 yards rushing per game in the eight weeks since the Eagles ran for 259. "Just learning the defense," Phillips said. "And trusting each other."
Craig's takeaways also included an item on how baffled Danielle Hunter was when he was flagged for a hands-to-the-face penalty during a play when his own helmet was yanked off.
In 98 games since his rookie year, Danielle Hunter has been penalized six times for 27 yards — never more than once for 5 yards in a season. His first penalty of 2023 — illegal use of hands — came as his helmet was ripped off by tackle Andrus Peat. "My helmet came off, and I was like, 'Oh, I got the penalty,' " Hunter said. "Then I was like, 'Wait. That's on me?' I said to the ref, 'Bro, do you not see what he's doing? He took my helmet off.' He didn't know what to say." The penalty negated a third-down incompletion and helped the Saints make it a one-score game.