Vikings at Rams: Observations from the First Half

The Vikings take a 13-0 lead to the half against St. Louis. Here’s what we saw in the first half:

The offensive line didn’t do great, with Robert Quinn bursting past left guard Charlie Johnson for an almost strip-sack, and Matt Kalil getting called for two false starts in the first half. On another play, Cassel dropped the sack, picked it up and was crushed immediately. They O-Line hasn’t been awful against arguably the best front four in the league, but could use some discipline especially from Kalil.

Sharrif Floyd had somewhat of a coming-out party. He and Linval Joseph have teamed up on a couple of stuffs up the middle on Zac Stacy. Floyd also stuck Tavon Austin for a three-yard loss in the second quarter. His diet and a year of experience appear to have paid off.

The offensive line aren’t the only ones getting an abundance of penalties. Cordarrelle Patterson was called for holding and Matt Asiata was offsides on a punt. Mistakes like these are costly, and Mike Zimmer and the coaching staff can’t be happy. Captain Munnerlyn was also caused for a debatable unnecessary roughness,. The Vikings had six penalties for 50 yards in the first half.

Robert Blanton blocked Darren Bates into Marcus Sherels on a punt in the second quarter, a play that left Sherels on the field for a couple minutes. While Sherels was down, Bates danced in the middle of the field with his helmet off. Sherels appeared to be OK, returning to the field on a following kick. If he is unable to return punts, Jerick McKinnon or Adam Thielen should be back there.

Blair Walsh was the stellar in the first half for Minnesota. His 52-yard and 46-yard boots provided 6 points for the Vikings, silencing concerns about his kicking that arose early in the preseason. In his past 1 and a half games against the Rams, Walsh has four field goals from beyond fifty yards.

Jarius Wright was a question mark heading into the season, as he barely played in the preseason. He had a so-so first half, catching a pass for a  first down and fifteen yards, and he should have caught another first down, but he dropped the ball.

Greg Jennings was the star receiver in the first half, catching 4 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Amazingly, the Vikings took only two snaps in the red zone in the first half. If you were relying on NFL RedZone to watch the game, I feel bad for you.

Josh Robinson made a spectacular play late in the second quarter, intercepting Shaun Hill and getting both feet in bounds to give the Vikings the ball at the Rams’ 35 yard line with 1:09 remaining. He had no interceptions last year.

The real story, though, was the defense. They held St. Louis to no points, despite Shaun Hill performing well (8/13 for 81 yards).

Stats:

Matt Cassel: 10/16, 105 yds. and 1 TD

Cordarrelle Patterson: 2 catches, 2 rushes for 50 yds.

Adrian Peterson: 11 attempts for 39 yards

 

 

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