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How To Watch, Listen, Stream and More | Week 8
Game Date/Time : Thursday, October 24, 2019, Time : 1:00 PM ET
Location : FedExField – Landover, Maryland
TV : FOX
Radio/Audio : Online Live TV
The Vikings look like a very balanced team right now, ranking 5th on offense and 11th on defense according to Football Outsiders DVOA. Their defense is loaded with stars, including Danielle Hunter, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, and Harrison Smith. Their offense is built around Gary Kubiak’s zone run scheme, a relative of the Shanahan scheme the Redskins faced last week. Early in the season the Vikings were extremely run heavy, but have recently balanced their attack with more passing. The threat of the run has really set up their play action passing game.
I asked Ted Glover of Daily Norseman five questions to better understand the state of the Vikings and what to look for in this game.
I think it’s a combination of a mental outlook, the offensive line, and playcalling. Until Cousins starts winning regularly against good teams in prime time, the ‘he wilts under pressure’ label won’t go away, so I don’t know that there’s anything more to address on that topic; I mean it is what it is at this point.
In the five wins, Minnesota has had a common theme–really good protection and o-line play in general, an elite running game, and very dynamic playcalling by OC Kevin Stefanski.
Last year, the offense was put on Cousins to deliver with a pass heavy attack that ignored the running the ball for large chunks of games, and it didn’t work. This year, Stefanski is doing a job that is nothing short of brilliant in calling plays that steer right into the strength of Cousins and the offense as a whole–heavy play action, roll outs, running Dalvin Cook to the perimeter, and the utilization of the entire playbook.
When he’s had a bad day, it’s because teams shut down what he’s good at, they have been able to bring heavy pressure, and the Vikings haven’t been able to adjust. For example, both Chicago and Green Bay were able to take away the play action roll out and rush Cousins, and the Bears eliminated the Vikings running game. During their three game winning streak, that hasn’t happened, so when it does happen again It’ll be interesting to see if the Vikings have come up with a way to overcome it.
As to the extension…I honestly don’t know. If it’s fully guaranteed again, no. Although the Vikings haven’t been hamstrung to the salary cap because of his deal, they don’t have nearly the wiggle room or flexibility that they could have, and next year some hard decisions are going to have to be made.
Cousins needs to play more like the last three weeks than he has the first 20 games before I can offer an enthusiastic “yes” to the question of an extension. He’s not a bad quarterback, but he’s not an elite one. He’s good, and that means he’s right in that gray area of paying him top dollar or not. Sometimes his performance makes me think ‘yeah, why not’, and then other times I’m convinced the Viings would be better off getting a QB in the first round and using the extra money to build around him. That’s a risky proposition, too, because if you whiff on a first round QB you set the team back 3-4 years, and we’ve seen that with both Tarvaris Jackson and Christian Ponder.