The Minnesota Vikings topped the Detroit Lions in Week 3, 28-24, with a rollercoaster performance in which Minnesota overcame two 10+ points deficits.
A suspect defense once again marred the Vikings game in Week 3, but the group stood up a handful of times when it mattered. Minnesota registered virtually no pass rush, lost the time of possession battle by 8+ minutes — and still found a way to outlast Detroit.
Ultimately, the Vikings survived the Lions, etching a record of 2-1 inside the NFC North, a division suddenly with three 2-1 teams — the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and Vikings.
On offense, these were the top performers per Pro Football Focus:
- Christian Darrisaw (89.4)
- Johnny Mundt (81.4)
- K.J. Osborn (78.3)
- Garrett Bradbury (77.8)
- Adam Thielen (77.0)
Darrisaw authored arguably his best game as a pro, keeping Kirk Cousins upright amid a Vikings offensive line that seems decent through three games — new territory indeed for the Vikings and the team’s fans. Following the game, head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters Darrisaw is becoming “of the premier left tackles in football.”
The news on Darrisaw is especially encouraging as Minnesota hasn’t employed a cornerstone left tackle since Bryant McKinnie, who left the franchise 12 years ago.
Mundt, the man who sounds like a cake, continues his impressive first season with the Vikings, tallying the second-best score for the Vikings on offense in Week 3. He played 28 snaps on offense and tabulated 2 receptions for 23 yards.
Of course, Osborn made the cut, the man accountable for the game-winning touchdown. One year ago, Osborn notched a walk-off touchdown versus the Carolina Panthers and mimicked the play in Week 3 versus Detroit. Quarterback Kirk Cousins delivered a strike to Osborn, who scored from 28 yards out with 45 seconds remaining. The Vikings took the league by four points and did not let go.
The most significant surprise on Sunday? Garrett Bradbury. Most Vikings fans spend ample time bemoaning Bradbury’s struggles, but they can do no such thing after his performance against Detroit. Bradbury was solid and is perhaps hitting his groove in O’Connell’s fresh offense.
Finally, Thielen proved to the globe that he was not “washed” at the ripe old age of 32. Minnesota curiously didn’t involve Thielen in the offensive gameplan during Weeks 1 and 2, at least not until garbage time hit. But Thielen thrived on Sunday as the Lions defense focused on Justin Jefferson most of the afternoon. Thielen had 6 catches for 61 yards and a wide-open touchdown.
Even in victory, “the bad” must be highlighted, so these were the worst performers on offense:
3. Brian O’Neill (62.3)
2. Justin Jefferson (43.9)
1. Ed Ingram (40.8)
The Vikings hop over the Atlantic Ocean this week for a Sunday date with the New Orleans Saints in Great Britain.
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).