News | Minnesota Vikings – vikings.com

Presented by

Lunchbreak: Cousins, 3 Teammates Land on Pro Football Focus’ Team of the Week

The Vikings put together an impressive 38-20 win over the Eagles on Sunday, getting contributions from the entire roster for one of Minnesota’s most impressive wins of the year.

But a handful of Vikings stood out, as Pro Football Focus recognized four players — Kirk Cousins, Brian O’Neill, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Harris — who were ranked among the best at their position in Week 6.

PFF writer Gordon McGuinness explained how each player made an impact Sunday, beginning with Cousins and his grade of 93.0.

Cousins has bounced back from a pretty disastrous start to the 2019 season with a pair of impressive games over the past two weeks. [Sunday] was up there with his best performances in purple, seeing him go 16-for-20 for 257 yards with four touchdowns and an interception when the Vikings kept him free from pressure.

Cousins completed 22 of 29 passes for 333 yards with four touchdowns and an interception against Philadelphia, earning a passer rating of 138.4.

Besides being recognized by PFF, Cousins has also been nominated for the FedEx Air Player of the Week after his big-time performance.

You can vote for Cousins to win that award here. Arizona’s Kyler Murray and Jets quarterback Sam Darnold are also up for the award. A trio of running backs are also up for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week.

FedEx will donate $2,000 to the USO on behalf of the NFL award winners through FedEx Cares. The $4,000 donation will support the USO Pathfinder program, which provides resources and personalized services to assist service members and military spouses in their transition back to civilian life. FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year winners — announced each year during Super Bowl Week at NFL Honors — will receive a $20,000 donation in their name to the USO.

Cousins was helped in his big game by O’Neill, who received a grade of 79.3 from PFF.

McGuinness noted the right tackle’s jump from Year 1 to Year 2 in the NFL.

The [2018] second-round draft pick has taken a nice little step forward in 2019, with the former Pitt Panther producing his best game of the season. From 35 pass-blocking snaps, he allowed just one hurry, with no sacks or hits given up. He also had his best game of the year as a run-blocker, producing an 80.0 PFF run-blocking grade.

Kendricks was credited with 11 total tackles according to coaches’ stats, which tied for a game-high with Anthony Barr. He also added a tackle for loss, split the sack with Alexander, forced a fumble [that was recovered by Barr] and broke up a pair of passes.

Kendricks had a PFF grade of 91.5.

McGuinness wrote:

This was a really good all-round game from Kendricks, who made plays in coverage, against the run and as a pass-rusher. He registered two pass breakups on the day, saw four of his seven solo tackles result in a defensive stop, and he registered three total pressures on four pass-rushing snaps.

Harris, meanwhile, has continued his steady presence in Minnesota secondary. He earned a grade of 90.4 from PFF.

Harris is starting to become one of the more underrated players in the NFL, and the 2015 undrafted free agent delivered one of his best games of the season on Sunday. He saw just two passes where he was the primary defender in coverage, resulting in one reception for seven yards and a pass breakup.

Harris recognized Philadelphia’s fake field goal and tipped the pass from kicker Jake Elliott that was picked off by Everson Griffen.

The Vikings led all teams with four players PFF’s team for Week 6.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Lions.

Hasan: Vikings could use Cook in multitude of ways against Lions

Six games into the 2019 season, Dalvin Cook ranks second in the NFL with 796 total yards from scrimmage.

The running back has 583 rushing yards and 213 receiving yards, and he trails only Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey in total yards.

Arif Hasan of The Athletic was asked how Cook could be used against the Lions, and opined the Vikings will likely find multiple ways to get the former second-round pick the ball.

Hasan wrote:

It’s important to remember they also employ the league’s best nose tackle in Damon Harrison. Though Harrison hasn’t ultimately stopped them from being a mediocre run defense — 5.1 yards per carry on the ground and 24th in expected points allowed on the ground — in part because of problems at linebacker.

That should mean yards on the ground for Dalvin Cook, and I’d expect to see a run-heavy approach, but also yards in the air, as he’ll be matched up against a number of linebackers who have struggled in coverage.

Nevertheless, it seems likely that the Vikings will be shifting their game plan based on situation — they’ll sit on the lead by running the ball if they ever get ahead. The Vikings run more often when behind than other teams but the overall balance will likely be dictated by the flow of the game.

The Lions rank 29th in yards allowed per game (413.8), and are 18th in points allowed per game (23.6).

Advertising