NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 3 PFF ReFocused: Minnesota Vikings 34, Oakland Raiders 14

Dalvin Cook ran wild in the Minnesota Vikings‘ 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders at home in Week 3.

PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

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Final Score

Minnesota Vikings 34, Oakland Raiders 14

Minnesota Vikings

Dalvin Cook showed his vision and agility, feasting on outside zone run plays and making defenders miss at a high rate. Cook also contributed to the passing game with two receptions for first downs thanks to some nifty runs after the catch.

It was a quiet day for Kirk Cousins and the Vikings' passing game. A lot of play-action was used, including on the touchdown throw to a wide-open Adam Thielen. Besides that, big plays were few and far between for Vikings' pass-catchers.

It was a good day for Minnesota's top two edge rushers. Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter each picked up a sack in addition to multiple hurries. Hunter took advantage of a number of matchups against tight ends on the edge to pick up quick pressures. Griffen, meanwhile, took advantage of Kolton Miller, who frequently looked overpowered. In addition to the pressures he surrendered, Miller was also called for a hold against Griffen.

The Vikings' most prominent run defender on the day was Eric Kendricks, who made several tackles near the line of scrimmage resulting in the Raiders having to deal with difficult down and distance situations. While Kendricks did flash the ability to beat blockers, the Raiders left him unblocked on a surprising number of run plays, and he made the most of his opportunities, stuffing a number of runs.

Rookie Takeaways

Tight end Irv Smith Jr. was outstanding in this one. He finished the game with a team-high 60 receiving yards on three receptions and performed above expectation as a blocker.

Oakland Raiders

The most noticeable presence on the Raiders' defense early on was interior defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins. He was beating blocks and making stops in the run game, but he eventually had to leave the game temporarily due to an injury. Once Hankins was hurt, the Vikings had a much easier time running the ball in the second half.

Maurice Hurst also had an impact on the interior of the defense. He had a few flashy pass-rush wins to force early throws from Cousins. Hurst also made some stops in the run game.

Derek Carr played reasonably well when kept clean and took advantage of a number of passes up the seam. He wasn't pressured especially often, but when pressure did come, it came quickly. And the results were not good. Carr was sacked four times and the only completions he made under pressure were short checkdowns that did little to help the offense.

Carr's favorite target on the day was far and away tight end Darren Waller, who hauled in 13-of-14 targets for 134 yards. Waller picked up first downs running a variety of routes and also forced a missed tackle both as a receiver and as a runner on his lone carry of the game. It was an impressive performance for a Raiders offense that was expected to be bereft of weapons.

Rookie Takeaways

First-round rookie running back Josh Jacobs recorded 44 rushing yards from his 10 attempts and dropped one of his two targets. This wasn't a banner day for the former ‘Bama back.

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