The Minnesota Vikings were able to overcome an absolutely monster day from Detroit Lions WR Marvin Jones Sunday, with Jones scoring four touchdowns but the Vikings still winning, 42-30, Sunday in Week 7.
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Kirk Cousins continued his strong play as of late with an overall good game. The Vikings helped him by running a ton of play action, but he had success throwing the football down the field. He made a few really good throws, his touchdown pass to Adam Thielen being chief among them, as he put it right over a defenders head into a tight window for Thielen.
Dalvin Cook looked like the most talented player on the field as he juked and hopped around for over 140 yards. It seemed like every other run Cook had, he was breaking a tackle or dragging a defender behind him as he picked up extra yards. He did drop a pass in the receiving game, but broke a tackle and picked up a first down on his only only target.
Edge defender Everson Griffen had his way with the Detroit pass protection, finding his way into the backfield to wreak havoc on Matthew Stafford throughout the afternoon. He especially dismantled LT Taylor Decker for multiple pressures, and several hits on the QB.
While the pass rush found ample success, if not for the offense rolling up the points on the Detroit defense, the outcome could've gone quite differently. Yes, the Lions found themselves trailing early, but losing their starting running back, Kerryon Johnson early forced the offense to air it out, and the Vikings' secondary was not up to the task. Four different defensive backs surrendered touchdown receptions to Marvin Jones Jr., and the secondary was flagged for multiple interference, holding penalties to keep the Lions in the game.
With the offense playing from behind, Matthew Stafford was forced to take to the air with increased regularity. In response, WR Marvin Jones Jr. feasted on the Minnesota secondary with four touchdown receptions. Two of them were coected on out routes, the other two on fades, and each within the coverage of a different Vinkings' defender.
After a breakout performance in Week 1 from rookie first-rounder T.J. Hockenson, the Iowa product has since yet to find a significant role in the offensive gameplan through the air. The majority of tight ends take time to adjust to the speed the the league and Week 7 found Hockenson struggling significantly in run blocking. With Kerryon Johnson leaving the contest with a knee injury, the Lions will need Hockenson to step up forward with better play if the offense is forced to move forward with talented speedster Ty Johnson as their featured back.
One of the lone bright spots on the Lions defense was interior defender Kevin Strong Jr. He was one player the Vikings really struggled to block in both facets of the game. His run defense was good as he picked up a couple stops, and he also added a few pressures when rushing the QB
Darius Slay has been one of the better corners in the league the past few seasons but he really struggled in this game. He was beaten for a touchdown as well as a couple of other first downs as the primary coverage defender. He also extended a few drives for the Vikings by picking up coverage penalties after being beaten and trying to make up for it.