November 20, 2017

Vikings beat Rams 24-7 after a slow start

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

The Los Angeles Rams took the opening kickoff and marched down the field to score the opening touchdown of the game, and (probably like a lot of Vikings fans) I thought “Oh, no, here we go again.” Yet that was it for Rams scoring for the rest of the day. The Vikings were slow to start, but eventually reeled off 24 unanswered points (plus two missed field goals) to advance their record to 8-2 on the year.

It was, to some degree, a revenge game for Vikings quarterback Case Keenum, who was benched last year by the Rams in favour of today’s visiting starter, Jared Goff. Goff passed for 225 yards on the day with 23 completions on 37 attempts, while Keenum finished with 27 of 38 for 280 yards and a touchdown. Adam Thielen continued his career year with another complete game (6 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown), while running back Latavius Murray had another solid performance, netting 95 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. On the other hand, Vikings kicker Kai Forbath had an uneven outing, missing two of three field goal attempts, but making all three extra points.

At The Daily Norseman, Ted Glover provides this week’s Stock Market Report, including the Buy and Sell recommendations:

Buy: The Vikings have a great defense. Like we mentioned earlier, coming in to this game the Rams were the highest scoring offense in the NFL, had one of the best running games, and were the best in the NFL at converting third downs. Seven points, 45 yards rushing on a 2.6 average, and a paltry 3-11 third down conversion rate later, I think it’s safe to say that the Vikings have, without question, one of the best defenses in the NFL…if not THE best.

Sell: The Vikings have a great defense on the opening drive. As good as the Vikings defense is, three straight TD’s yielded on opening drives in the last three games is a really weird anomaly. I don’t know what it is, and it hasn’t hurt the team yet, but at some point this slow start could rear up and bite the Vikings in the rear end.

Buy: The Vikings miss Dalvin Cook. There were a couple of times today during the game where the announcers mentioned Dalvin Cook, and I got a bit melancholy about Cook being lost for the season. He also had a press conference earlier this week to update everyone on his rehab from ACL surgery. He was really starting to make an impact, and I’m excited to see him in this offense in 2018 and beyond.

Sell: The Vikings running game is is worse since Cook was lost to a season ending injury. But the Vikings running game has actually gotten better since Cook went down.

And with Murray’s two rushing TD’s today, they have one more rushing TD in 10 games than in all of last year, and today they ran for a season high 171 yards.

Buy: The Vikings have a hammer lock on a first round bye right now. With the win against the Rams today, and their win against the Saints to open the season, the Vikings have an inside track to at least a first round bye. They have Detroit, Atlanta, and Carolina coming up, and wins there about locks things up for both the division and at least a number 2 seed in the NFC.

Sell: Right now is the end of the season. But to call this thing a done deal is very premature. The Lions, Falcons and Panthers are a gauntlet, and yes, while three wins pretty much wrap things up, a couple losses puts everything in play. With a win against the Vikings already, the Lions are in a do or die fight for the division on Thursday, and another loss or two after that pushes the Vikings back to the rest of the pack in the NFC. This next three game stretch coming up is the most critical part of the season.

Buy: The Vikings exorcised some ‘same old Vikings’ demons today. As a guy that’s been a fan of this team for over 40 years, the Vikings have some long standing truths about them. They generally don’t react well to adversity, and when things go south, like some bad penalty calls or missed field goals, things generally snowball and they end up losing the game. But since Mike Zimmer was named head coach, this team has exorcised a lot of these demons, and have a mental toughness that jumps out at you like a grasshopper under a cigarette lighter. This team keeps their composure, puts the bad play behind them, and then bears down and they get the job done.

Sell: Waiting for the next shoe to drop. This is another thing about being a Vikings fan that you just sort of accept if you’ve watched this team for a long time. At some point, ‘It’ happens, and a win becomes a loss. ‘It’ can be any number of things, but you’re always waiting for ‘it’ to occur.

I’m not doing that now.

Now, I’m not saying the Vikings are going to run the table, but this sense of doom I ALWAYS have about this team is receding a little bit. When you get to 8-2 with your third string QB and your top running back out, it feels like there’s something special building in Minneapolis. There’s still a lot of football to play, and some tough opponents on the docket, but I am now starting to believe that instead of finding a way to lose games, the Vikings are finding ways to win games.

So the Vikings keep their two game lead in the NFC North, and have another big game on a short week as they travel to Detroit on Thanksgiving. A win there, and the playoffs seem like a formality. A loss, and it becomes a dogfight for the rest of the year.

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