From a suggestion by a reader, we continue our “snap reactions” weekly piece detailing thoughts and analysis after a Minnesota Vikings game.
This will be off-the-cuff, a wee bit “random,” and hopefully insightful.
The Vikings climbed to 12-3 atop the NFC North, defeating the New York Giants in the 11th thriller-like game of the season. Greg Joseph drilled a franchise-long field goal — of 61 yards — to walkoff the Giants, 27-24.
12 Snap Reactions after Giants at Vikings
1 – The Vikings do something different every week to win a rollercoaster game. That either proves to the viewer that the team is incapable of winning a “normal game” — or it will be the most battle-tested team of all-time when the postseason begins. You pick.
2 – Greg Joseph has completed his redemption tour, winning the hearts of every single Viking fan. Even if he misses a game-winner in the future, he’s probably done enough to remain the Vikings kicker for years to come. His game-winner was absolutely incredible.
3 – Insert the slogan here — Kirk Cousins wasn’t perfect, but he was unbelievably good when it mattered, especially with the game on the line.
4 – Last year (and pretty much all the years before it), the chief criticism of Kirk Cousins was “he can’t win the big games” or that he “shrivels when it matters.” It’s probably time to retire the stale narrative regarding Cousins’ alleged big-game woes. They’re false.
5 – Justin Jefferson broke the Vikings single-season receiving yards record and is on pace for 2,000 yards. The man is a mighty, mighty performer. It remains astonishing that he was the byproduct of Stefon Diggs not wanting to play in Minnesota.
6 – T.J. Hockenson is also a monster, and if he drops a pass here and there, don’t flip out. Such is life. He tends to redeem himself, did exactly that on Saturday, and his addition to the 2022 Vikings was totally vital.
7 – The Vikings defense is still a mixed bag, and that’s just the way it is. It won’t suddenly “get good” this late in the dance. Fans just have to hope the offense and special teams are clutch and prolific enough to mask the defense’s shortcomings.
8 – If there were no “Bills game” or no “Colts game,” we’d talk about this Vikings win for years. But a win like today’s just feels like standard operating procedure. And for Vikings faithful, they’re largely okay with it.
9 – Minnesota only had two penalties against the Giants (for 14 yards), which continues to be one of the team’s supreme strengths.
10 – The turning point of the game — beyond the shadow of a doubt — was Kirk Cousins’ would-be interception hitting the turf at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings ended up scoring a touchdown on that drive. Otherwise, it was Daniel Jones and friends heading the other way versus a suspect Ed Donatell defense.
11 – The win over the Giants was another example of this: when the Donatell defense wins the turnover battle, the Vikings are nearly a lock to win. The 2022 Vikings defense must force turnovers. Otherwise, it’s just a bad defense.
12 – The storybook season for first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell continues. And it really doesn’t matter how the season finishes. This is a magnificent season for a rookie head coach.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).