Minnesota Vikings 31, Houston Texans 13
Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from Minnesota's 34-13 win over Houston:
Quarterback grade: Sam Bradford, 81.7
Sam Bradford continues to impress in Vikings uniform
Sam Bradford had his fourth straight game with a positive passing grade in the Vikings' win over the Texans, which is an even more impressive feat considering how new he is to the Minnesota team and scheme. Bradford was terrific under duress, completing 80 percent of his passes and earning a 144.2 QB rating on his 12 dropbacks under pressure. Bradford was accurate to the intermediate and deep areas of the field, as he completed 5 of 7 passes thrown 10 or more yards downfield.
Top offensive grades:
WR Adam Thielen, 85.6
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, 81.6
OT Jeremiah Sirles, 78.0
OG Alex Boone, 76.1
RB Matt Asiata, 71.7
Vikings get passing game going, but struggle to run the ball
The Vikings had difficulty getting their running game going against the stingy Texans defense. The Vikings only averaged 2.5 yards per carry on 38 rushing attempts. Adam Thielen was the Vikings' most productive receiver against the Texans, with No. 1 target Stefon Diggs missing this game due to injury. Thielen caught seven of eight targets for 127 yards and one touchdown, hauling in receptions against four different coverage defenders. Cordarrelle Patterson appears to be having something of a renaissance this year, as he was targeted five times for the second week in a row. Patterson caught four of his five targets for 39 yards and 1 TD.
Top defensive grades:
LB Eric Kendricks, 87.0
DT Linval Joseph, 84.6
S Harrison Smith, 83.9
CB Captain Munnerlyn, 82.6
DE Everson Griffen, 82.5
Edge players spend afternoon padding their stats
Injuries forced the Texans to shuffle offensive line combinations throughout the game, and the Vikings’ defensive line clearly took advantage of Houston’s lack of continuity. DEs Brian Robison, Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter combined for three sacks, a hit and 14 pressures, while the rest of the defense chipped in with an additional 10 pressures. LB Eric Kendricks was stellar in coverage, as he gave up just two receptions on seven targets for 19 yards, and broke up a pass.
Quarterback grade: Brock Osweiler, 32.4
Texans fans have reason to worry about Brock Osweiler's play
There’s really no other way to put it — Osweiler’s dismal play to this point in the season, and particularly during this loss to the Vikings, has the Broncos looking brilliant for letting him leave town to chase the huge contract Houston gave him in the offseason. Being under pressure on 22 of 46 dropbacks didn’t help him in this one, but his poor decision-making and lack of accuracy in those situations were the real issues. When faced with pressure against the Vikings, he completed just four of 18 passes for 45 yards and an interception, and took four sacks. His worst play of the game ended up being a simple incompletion, as he floated a ball to the boundary that was dropped by Vikings safety Harrison Smith, which would have been a walk-in pick-six had Smith held onto it.
Top offensive grades:
TE CJ Fiedorowicz, 80.2
WR DeAndre Hopkins, 74.0
RB Lamar Miller, 68.4
RB Alfred Blue, 68.3
C Greg Mancz, 51.8
Entire offense grades poorly in loss
When center Greg Mancz makes the list of top offensive grades and he only has a 51.8, obviously things did not go well. The entire offensive line struggled in both phases of the game, but pass protection was the biggest issue. Three linemen gave up at least three pressures, with Derek Newton (who played 28 snaps at right guard and 36 snaps at right tackle) leading the way by yielding a sack, two hits and three hurries. The receivers complicated things for Osweiler and the offensive line by struggling to create separation, as evidenced by Minnesota’s four pass break-ups.
Top defensive grades:
ED Jadeveon Clowney, 89.2
CB Kevin Johnson, 81.6
LB Benardrick McKinney, 81.5
ED John Simon, 80.9
CB A.J. Buoye, 79.2
Jadeveon Clowney posts the best game grade of his career
Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney was a dominant run defender against Minnesota, and repeatedly whipped the Vikings' offensive tackles to make plays behind the line of scrimmage en route to earning a dazzling 97.9 run-defense grade. Clowney had six run stops and he also generated one hit and one hurry on 24 pass rushes. Second-year cornerback Kevin Johnson was the Texans’ best coverage defender against the Vikings (81.8 coverage grade). Johnson was thrown at seven times and allowed five catches, but only for 40 yards. Johnathan Joseph struggled and allowed all four of his targets to be caught for 74 yards and 1 TD. Whitney Mercilus provided the Texans with their biggest pass-rushing presence in J.J. Watt’s absence. Mercilus (83.1 pass-rushing grade) had two sacks, two hits and two hurries on 25 pass-rushing snaps.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Vikings LB Eric Kendricks
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