Cardinals outlast Vikings 34-33 in a Sunday afternoon thriller, seeing 8 lead changes
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
"And the MINNESOTA VIKINGS are POPPIN' THEIR COLLARS!" - As spoken by legendary college sports announcer, Gus Johnson, after Justin Jefferson's touchdown catch in the second quarter to increase the lead to 20-7, which would wind up being the final offensive touchdown by the Vikings on the day.
Vikings fans have felt plenty of heartbreak over the years with big losses endured due to elite running backs fumbling at inopportune times and makable, game-winning field goals seemingly finding a gust of wind by the football gods to push the ball left or right. 2021 has seen 2 games end in these exact scenarios. On the other hand, the Vikings have accumulated the 6th most wins in the Super Bowl Era. They are always competitive and the bad years typically finish right around a .500 record. Minnesota is filled with passionate fans that 100% deserve to see the team finally catch a break to hoist the elusive Lombardi Trophy. Take a breathe, it WILL be ours one day.
There is no denying that the Vikings offense flexed their muscles 2 weeks in a row to get the team into positions to start the season 2-0. Instead, we sit here with our team at 0-2 after a Dalvin Cook fumble and a missed field goal by new kicker, Greg Joseph. The Vikings finally have their Home Opener coming next Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks as they hope to turn around what has been a rough start to the 2021 season.
Adam Theilen, Justin Jefferson, and K.J. Osborn (it appears we found our WR3!) all had TD catches in the first half to give the Vikings an early 20-7 lead on the road against the up and coming Arizona Cardinals. We were also able to get Dalvin Cook rollin' today as he rushed 22 times for 131 yards and had 2 catches for another 17 yards. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense picked up the pace before half as Murray was able to run around like a crazy person and make some spectacular plays. (Fun fact: Murray is the first athlete to be drafted in the 1st round of both the NFL & MLB drafts!) The halftime score was 24-23 Cardinals as both offensive were able to fill up the scoreboard.
The second half highlighted some fantastic halftime adjustments by the Minnesota Vikings defense. It was clear they came out of the locker room more focused on containing Murray in the passing pocket and forcing him to beat them with his arm. Less than a minute into the second half, linebacker Nick Vigil intercepted Murray and returned it for a touchdown to regain the lead. The Vikings defense did everything they could to help the Vikings offense as they ended up intercepting Murray twice and sacking him 3 times, all while keeping him contained and not letting him run around making plays, like he so often does. The Vikings offense, though, was only able to score 3 points in the second half and that just cannot happen. Kirk Cousins is now in his 7th season as starting QB in the NFL (4th season with the Vikings) and he has yet to show a true leadership ability to help lift his teams to victories when they need him most. I will start by saying he has begun this season playing well as he has almost 600 passing yards, 5 touchdowns and no turnovers. I know his end of game/season stats usually look solid, but there is no denying that the premier QBs find ways to lead their teams to more victories and playoff appearances. Cousins has a career 51-53-2 record as a starter and has led his teams to 2 playoff appearances in 6 seasons. That just flat out isn't good enough. Yes, I know this game (and last week's game) should have resulted in a win capped off by a good drive and game-winning field goal, but the offense needed to play better in the second half. The Vikings have arguably the BEST trio of offensive weapons in the entire NFL with Adam Theilen, Justin Jefferson, and Dalvin Cook. There should be no reason the Vikings offense is held to 3 points in any half.
So the Vikings are 0-2 after 2 CLOSE road games... time to move on. We still have 15 games left on the schedule and I believe it becomes imperative that we tighten up our boot strings and focus on winning at least 3 of the next 4 games. That would put us at 3-3 with 11 games remaining on the schedule. The next 4 games include Home vs the Seahawks (W), Home versus the Browns (L), Home vs the Lions (W), and Away vs the Panthers (W). I truly believe this team has the ability to put together a nice run here and get back to how we know our Vikings can play!