News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 PFF ReFocused: New Orleans Saints 52, Minnesota Vikings 33

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) gestures after picking up a first down against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

NFL fans woke up thinking it was Christmas on Friday. It was actually National Alvin Kamara Day. Kamara totaled 172 yards and six touchdowns across his 25 touches to lead the New Orleans Saints to a comfortable 52-33 win over the visiting Minnesota Vikings.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

STORY OF THE GAME

The Saints' superstar running back also forced five missed tackles and averaged over four yards after contact per rushing attempt in his stunning Christmas Day performance.

Minnesota’s defense had no answers for Kamara & Co. Outside of two Drew Brees interceptions, the highlights for Mike Zimmer’s defense were few and far between. The unit missed more than 10 tackles on the day and awarded Kamara nearly three yards before contact per carry.

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ offense went toe-to-toe with the Saints’ offensive attack early but ultimately couldn’t keep the fire going late in the second half. Cousins completed 27-of-41 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns on his way to what should be a 65.0-plus PFF passing grade. He also took two costly sacks and missed on a handful of key throws in the fourth quarter.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook averaged 4.9 yards per carry and forced five missed tackles in the contest, but his efforts on the ground weren’t enough to keep Minnesota in the game late.

ROOKIE WATCH

Saints rookies Adam Trautman and Cesar Ruiz both played 25-plus snaps in the game and earned 70.0-plus PFF grades on first review of the broadcast film.

Vikings’ Justin Jefferson caught six passes for 85 yards and earned a 75.0-plus PFF grade on first review. Fellow offensive rookie Ezra Cleveland gave up a strip-sack to Cameron Jordan in the game, but he made up for some of his blunders in pass protection with multiple positively graded plays and few negatively graded plays as a run-blocker.

Rookie cornerbacks Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler earned sub-50.0 PFF coverage grades for the Vikings on PFF’s first review of the game. Gladney missed three tackles and gave up more than 80 yards in coverage. Dantzler allowed two first downs and more than 50 yards in the game.

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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