The Minnesota Vikings topped the Washington Commanders in Week 9, 20-17, in a game featuring a 10-point 4th Quarter comeback by Kevin O’Connell’s team.
Washington’s defense did its best to smother the Vikings for about three total quarters, but Minnesota turned on the offensive gas in the final period, thanks to Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, and newcomer T.J. Hockenson.
Ultimately, the Vikings survived the Commanders, etching a record of 7-1 through nine weeks, now sitting alone at the top of the NFC North because the Green Bay Packers have lost five straight games to the New York Giants, New York Jets, Washington Commanders, Buffalo Bills, and Detroit Lions.
On offense, these were the top performers per Pro Football Focus:
- Christian Darrisaw (87.3)
- Justin Jefferson (79.7)
- Kirk Cousins (79.0)
- T.J. Hockenson (76.4)
- Garrett Bradbury (64.6)
Christian Darrisaw and Garrett Bradbury were the lone shining stars on the offensive line in PFF‘s estimation. Darrisaw continues to dazzle — even against stiff competition like Montez Sweat. He allowed one single pressure on Sunday. And Bradbury, well, his rise to relevance is noteworthy, as the fourth-year center was a liability in 2019, 2020, and 2021. While nowhere near Darrisaw’s level, Bradbury is actually playing quite well. The remainder of the Vikings offensive line had a rough day in the nation’s capital.
Justin Jefferson was beset by some strange drops and inability to win 50-50 balls against the Commanders. But nobody’s perfect. In the end, the Vikings offense depended on Jefferson, and he accounted for 115 yards and a touchdown. The man is deadly.
Kirk Cousins savored a win at his old house, guiding the Vikings to 4th Quarter heroism, a practice that has become a mainstay in 2022. Well, Cousins was brilliant late in games during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, too, but folks wouldn’t acknowledge him because the defense and kicker would squander wins. All told, Cousins had 265 passing yards and a couple of touchdowns during his “revenge game.”
Finally, T.J. Hockenson experienced 9 targets in Week 9 — the most by a Vikings tight end since 2018. The ex-Lion had a few days to learn the offense, making the most of his acclimation to the tune of 9 catches and 70 yards.
Even in victory, “the bad” must be highlighted, so these were the worst performers on offense:
3. K.J. Osborn (49.5)
2. Johnny Mundt (31.9)
1. Ezra Cleveland (29.4)
The Vikings travel to Buffalo for a date with the Bills this weekend. Buffalo lost in Week 9 to the New York Jets, and quarterback Josh Allen injured his elbow. He’s likely to play against the Vikings, but if he does not, the matchup would be Kirk Cousins versus Case Keenum. Perhaps you remember the guy.
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).