Minnesota Vikings Maintain Dominant Streak

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Vikings wrangled the Texans in a 31-13 blowout in Minneapolis. Dominating on offense, defense and special teams, the Vikings have continued their successful run as the first team in the NFL to reach five wins.

Throughout the season, fans and analysts have been waiting for the Minnesota Vikings to lay an egg and lose to a lesser team. So far, the Vikings have not only hung on to wins–they have shown complete control through the majority of the season.

Offense steps it up

In a season where the Vikings’ defense has been in the headlines, the offense has been, at times, quietly effective. With no turnovers on the season, the Vikings’ offense has come through in important moments. In the 31-13 victory over the Texans, the Minnesota Vikings came flying out of the gate with a 36 yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to Adam Thielen.

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Matt Asiata capped off the Vikings’ next offensive drive of 11 plays with a one yard touchdown run. With that, the Minnesota Vikings went up 14 in the first quarter, allowing the defense to rush the passer early in the game.

With Stefon Diggs on the bench, Sam Bradford had to distribute the ball to a different group of receivers–he did so successfully. Bradford threw the ball to seven different receivers for 271 yards and two touchdowns.

For the first game in the season, Jarius Wright rejoined the receiving corps. Wright and the rising role-player Cordarrelle Patterson both had four grabs for a combined 71 yards. While Wright played his usual third down game, Patterson showed up in an unusual way, scoring a contested red zone touchdown reception.

After forcing a turnover-on-downs, up 24-6, the Vikings started the fourth quarter with an important touchdown drive to keep the game out of reach. This season, the Vikings offense hasn’t always looked to increase a deadly lead–this week they gave the Texans the dagger early.

Today’s showing proved the Vikings ability to win with offense, though they didn’t need to.

Defense stays consistent

It’s hard to not water down the top-tier play of the Minnesota Vikings defense. It’s simply redundant to mention the dominant pass rush, tremendous secondary and the unfair amount of depth.

Brock Osweiler went 2-6 in the first quarter–not earning a single first down. In fact, besides from penalties, the Texans didn’t get a single first down until the two-minute warning in the first half.

By the end of the first half, Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels had more yards in one punt return (79) than the Texans did in the entire half. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller combined did not catch a pass until the seven-minute mark in the third quarter–Fuller ended the game with just four yards.

Even Andrew Sendejo, the weak link of the defense, impacted the game with an interception. During a drive where DeAndre Hopkins finally got going and Houston looked threatening, Tom Johnson stepped up with a sack that put them out of field goal range. They went for it on fourth and forever and obviously didn’t make it on Mike Zimmer’s defense.

As previously noted, it’s hard not to be redundant when covering the dominance of the Vikings defense–they do it every game.

Special teams keeps game out of reach

The obvious impact of the Minnesota Vikings’ special teams unit was the 79-yard punt return touchdown by Marcus Sherels. Yet there was so much more impact. Jeff Locke repeatedly played the field position game with well-placed punts. Blair Walsh made every field goal (of course he should). Finally, both kickoff and punt coverage were consistent, leaving the Texans with a constant uphill battle for field position.

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This dominance wasn’t only on display against the Texans. With consistent dominance over tough opponents, it’s hard to predict when or if the Vikings will lose this season.