Minus a clunker of a first quarter against the Packers, the Vikings have played some really good football through three weeks.
If Kirk Cousins doesn't throw the most atrocious pass off all time, there's a solid chance Minnesota is 3-0 heading into Week 4 against the Bears.
Regardless, last Sunday's win over the Raiders saw a bunch of Vikings players show up, including rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. Here's the highest graded offensive players last Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus.
- Irv Smith Jr., 92.3
- Dalvin Cook, 90.7
- Kirk Cousins, 86.2
- Brian O'Neill, 69.5
- Dakota Dozier, 68.3
The PFF grading system grades every player on a scale of -2 to +2 for every play. There's a lot of factors that go into what constitutes a positive or negative play. For example, if a running back rushes for five yards on 2nd-and-5, securing a first down, that play receives a better grade than when he rushes for the same amount on 2nd-and-8.
Smith only hauled in 3 catches for 60 yards but his positive blocking grades helped him secure his big day. Kirk Cousins had a solid day completing 15-of-21 passes for 174 yards a touchdown with zero turnovers. Most importantly, he didn't make a pass that cost his team a game.
"It was a quiet day for Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ passing game," says PFF. "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."
To shed more light on how bad Cousins' performance was against the Packers, PFF said his start was worse than any time Christian Ponder played against Green Bay. So yeah, it was bad.
The bottom three performers from the offense were from C.J. Ham, Garrett Bradbury and Josh Kline.
- C.J. Ham, 53.2
- Garrett Bradbury, 53.8
- Josh Kline, 55.9
Although Bradbury's grade was still low, it was a vast improvement from his zero grade in Week 1 and 16.3 grade in Week 2. However, it doesn't get easier next week as he'll go against Akeem Hicks, who's one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. Meanwhile, multiple defensive players shined against the Raiders.
- Everson Griffen, 85.4
- Trae Waynes, 80.1
- Danielle Hunter, 76.7
- Eric Kendricks, 71.1
- Anthony Harris, 67.8
Both Griffen and Hunter picked up sacks against Derek Carr and they also caused hell on the opposing linemen responsible for blocking them. Here's what PFF had to say about the two.
"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 bottom 3 defensive players were Ben Gedeon, Mike Hughes and Stephen Weatherly.
For Hughes, it was his first game since tearing his ACL in Week 6 last season. So better performances should be on the horizon for the sophomore cornerback.