Week 3 Game Balls: Vikings vs Raiders

Photo: Minnesota Vikings Game Balls
Minnesota Vikings Game Balls

It is nice to be able to give out fully-inflated, nicely painted game balls for the Vikings victory over the Oakland Raiders, unlike last week.

Offensive Line

Minnesota Vikings line up against the Oakland Raiders on September 22, 2019

It would be easy to give the offensive game ball to Dalvin Gook for another amazing performance or to Kirk Cousins for a nice bounce-back game after his disasterous outing at Green Bay last week.

Adam Thielen scored twice, Alexander Mattison scored his first NFL touchdown and Irv Smith Jr. lead the team in receiving yards. All are deserving of recognition.

But what really paved the way for Vikings 34-14 domination of the Oakland Raiders was the play of the offensive line.

As a team, the Vikings rushed for 211 yards for an average of 5.5 yards per carry but when Cook, Mattison and Mike Boone each had runs for over 20 yards, that tells you the backs had some big holes to run through.

As if that weren’t enough, add to that the fact that Kirk Cousins was not sacked and had time enough to connect on explosive plays to Thielen, Smith and Cook.

Next week against the Bears defense will be a much better test of the unit I’m still worried about but for this week, nicely played.

Everson Griffen

Photo: Everson Griffen
Everson Griffen. Photo courtesy Minnesota Vikings

Everson Griffen was relentless in pressuring Derek Carr all day and back to his run stuffing ways, to boot.

Griffen recorded one sack of his own and his pressure forced Carr into the arms of Danielle Hunter, for his sack.

Griffen’s return to his 2017 form is essential to the Vikings defensive success, especially considering the teams depleted secondary depth.