Why everyone thinks the Vikings are frauds in the NFL playoffs

Despite finishing the regular season with a record of 13-4, Minnesota Vikings For the most part, it’s an afterthought in the NFC playoffs.The Philadelphia Eagles look like Super Bowl favorites, the San Francisco 49ers are ridden by Mr. Irrelevant, Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay he the Buccaneers barely make it to the playoffs, Dallas is always on the radar as an American team, Brian dowel is new york giants Back in the playoffs, the Russell Wilson-less Seattle team captured the final playoff spot.

Then there are the Vikings, overshadowed by teams with better records or more interesting stories, but as three seeds to host the Giants this weekend.

With a new general manager (Kwesi Adofo-Mensah) and head coach (Kevin O’Connell), many thought the team was going into rebuilding mode with newbies in these key positions. Instead, Minnesota went 8–1 after losing to the Eagles in Week 2 before losing to the Cowboys in mid-November.

QB Kirk Cousins ​​threw for 425 yards, scored two touchdowns and had zero interceptions in a Week 14 loss to the Detroit Lions, sparking national skepticism around the team. occurred. His 41-17 crushing loss to the Packers in Green Bay in Week 17 shaped the narrative that the Vikings are good but not good enough.

How can a 13-4 team that beat the vaunted Buffalo Bills in November be considered not good enough?

Like everything in the NFL today, it starts with the quarterback. No matter how many shirtless, gold-jeweled dances he does, whether or not the position is accurate, it doesn’t change the fact that Cousins ​​represents “not good enough” in that position. Hmm.

On the surface, Cousins’ season was mostly impressive with 4,547 passing yards (4th in the NFL) and 29 touchdowns (tied for 5th). The veteran caller also averaged a respectable middle of the pack in yards per attempt (7.1). Under Cousins, Minnesota’s offense scored him 24.9 points per game, placing him eighth in the league.

Unfortunately, not everything was as impressive for Cousins. He has the third-most interceptions (14) and sacks (46) this year.

Advanced statistics such as DVOA The Vikings’ quarterback hasn’t impressed this year. pro soccer focus Cousins’ pass scored tied for 10th Geno Smith His overall record as the 14th best quarterback in the league.

Much like his team’s story, Cousins ​​was good, but not good enough.

Cousins ​​isn’t the biggest concern on the offensive side of the ball.

offensive line bottom half of the league In both pass blocks and run blocks this season, 46 sacks fall to both the quarterback and his offensive line. RB Dalvin He was explosive for much of his year, as shown by his 4.4 yards per carry when Cook rushed for over 1,100 yards (his sixth in the NFL). was lacking.

Minnesota’s offense had a little bit of brilliance (Jefferson), some good things (Cousins, Cook), and some mediocre (offensive line), but the defense put the team down with a lot of bad things. bottom.

The Vikings scored the third-most points this season with 25.1 per game. Offensive interceptions didn’t help that number, but the next closest NFC playoff team (the Giants) gave up just 21.8 points per game. Minnesota has lost 20 or more points in 13 of 17 games this season, making his 13-4 record even more impressive.

The four games that prevented teams from scoring 20 points offer even more perspective when looking at quarterback performance.

  • Week 1 – Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst games of his career passing just 195 yards
  • Week 6 – Teddy Bridgewater returns from his own concussion to lead a late Miami comeback after Skyler Thompson’s first career start went awry when Tua Tagovailoa was sidelined with a concussion.
  • Week 9 – Taylor Heinicke passed for just 149 yards in his third game in relief for Carson Wentz.
  • Week 18 – Chicago Starts Nathan Peterman Instead of Justin Fields leading to the expected result of the quarterback playing poorly.Tim Boyle Finished the Bears game

DVOA have a defense 27th in the league.

The unit has some quality veterans leading the way. Pass rushers Daniel Hunter and Zadarius Smith totaled 20.5 sacks and 27 tackles in the loss. CB Patrick Peterson S Harrison Smith recorded 5 interceptions each.

After that, it’s hard to find production on that side of the ball.The PFF has only one other player who has played over 300 snaps and scored 80 or better (out of 100). CB Duke he’s Sherry. Shelley has scored 398 snaps, even though he’s only appeared in nine games this season.

The defense was mediocre when it came to stopping runs, but one of the worst when it came to putting pressure on quarterbacks. ESPN Winrate Metrics.

Thankfully for the Vikings, the team’s positive qualities were enough to gain home field advantage in the first round and win a rematch against New York. , a last-second win in the two-team Week 16 matchup.

Cousins ​​had a good game against the Giants defense with 299 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has also been fired four times. The day’s opposing quarterback, Daniel Jones, threw the ball across the field that day, passing for 334 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

On Sunday afternoon, the Vikings got another chance to change the team’s narrative. It starts with Cousins, but a poorly performing defense will either make the NFC’s 3rd seed feared in the postseason or prove to be a half-hearted scam despite a 14-3 record. helps determine the

Aside from making the playoffs, Minnesota has a lot more to offer on Sunday afternoon.

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