Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Kirk Cousins, Riley Reiff and the defensive line: Who gets a thumbs up or thumbs down for Sunday's performance?


Forum News Service's Robb Jeffries and Jason Feldman give their grades for the Vikings-Packers game.

Written By: Jason Feldman | Robb Jeffries | Sep 14th 2020 - 3pm.


Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is tackled in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sept. 13, 2020. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports


Thumbs up

Riley Reiff: The Vikings’ starting left tackle was nearly cut two weeks ago. He was seen by many fans and media as a replaceable piece in the offensive line, but he agreed to restructure his deal, saving the team approximately $5 million in cap space. The Vikings’ line struggled in Sunday’s loss, but Reiff wasn’t part of the problem. He more than held his own against Preston Smith, and the one glaring play that occurred on his side of the field — Jaire Alexander sacking Kirk Cousins for a safety — by all accounts was a missed blitz pickup by Dalvin Cook. One last thought: What would the Vikings' line have looked like if Reiff had not agreed to rework his contract? — Jason Feldman

Special teams: The third phase of the game is often overlooked, but on a day when the defense got throttled and the offense couldn't bail them out, the Minnesota special teams units had a solid day — or at least didn't get the team in trouble. One of Britton Colquitt's punts left Green Bay with a relatively short field, but it's hard to blame him when the ensuing drive went 11 plays for a touchdown. Dan Bailey made his kicks, K.J. Osborn looked competent as a returner and the coverage units prevented any big plays. — Robb Jeffries

Thumbs down

Cousins: The final line doesn't look too bad — 259 yards on 25 attempts, 76% completion rate with a pair of touchdowns and one interception — but looks can be deceiving. Much of Cousins' production came with the game out of reach, and part of the reason the game was lopsided was because he struggled to connect with his targets early on. Don't let Adam Thielen's 6-110-2 line fool you, either, as both his touchdowns came in the fourth quarter with Minnesota down by 19 and 17 points. — Jeffries

Vikings defensive line: It’s impossible to single anyone out here because they were all invisible. Aaron Rodgers was pressured twice. Twice. The Vikings threw all kinds of looks at the Packers — even lining up Anthony Barr as an edge rusher at one point — and couldn’t get to Rodgers. Danielle Hunter’s absence was noticeable, but if Minnesota can’t figure out how to get to the QB, they’ll continue to leave a young secondary hung out to dry. — Feldman

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to pass in the first half against the Minnesota Vikings during their football game Sept. 13, 2020, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Dan Powers / Appleton Post-Crescsent-USA TODAY NETWORK

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