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Bleacher Report – Vikings

10 thoughts: Patterson making waves, Thielen steps in, Bradford dropping dimes

By Derek Wetmore

We’re changing things up a bit this week with this column. Typically, it’s posted on game day and contains 4 thoughts. This week, I had Sunday off for another engagement, and so I only experienced the Vikings’ thorough defeat of the Houston Texans by watching the game rewind. To make up for the tardiness of the column, I’ve expanded the scope to 10 thoughts.

Here are 10 thoughts from Minnesota’s 31-13 victory against the Houston Texans:

1. Cordarrelle Patterson is going to get paid.

His fascinating career trajectory has been well-documented, from Pro Bowl-level return man to afterthought in the Vikings’ offense under Norv Turner. Now, he looks like a stud special teamer and has earned his way into the wide receiver rotation, where he’s a threat any time he gets the ball in space.

And now he’s getting end zone targets and plays designed to go to him? That’s a significant development for the future free agent. If you’re a fan of storylines, his re-emergence is shaping up to be a great one.

2. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata have me asking the rhetorical question: Do the Vikings miss Adrian Peterson right now?

Another rhetorical question: Are both backs better at catching passes than Peterson?

3. The Vikings’ 3rd-down defense on Sunday appeared to demoralize the Texans.

Houston was 1-for-13 converting 3rd downs Sunday. The Texans also had the ball for about 22 minutes, 30 seconds out of a possible 60 minutes, which is less than 38 percent.

Yep.

4. I’m impressed by Sam Bradford hanging in to make tough throws.

On one play in particular, the Texans ran a defensive line game to get to Bradford on 3rd-and-7. Bradford was about to get drilled, and he stayed poised, side-armed a ball to Jarius Wright, who caught it for a 1st down as Bradford got crushed in the backfield. What a pass.

5. Wildcat? Wildcat.

The wildcat offense has largely disappeared as NFL defenses learned how to counter it. It’s not always effective with this mix, but I’m intrigued by the Tony Sparano influence this season on the Vikings’ offense.

Cordarrelle Patterson and Jerick McKinnon make for a fascinating backfield dynamic on a handful of plays per week.

6. How about the Vikings’ 3rd-down offense on Sunday?

We mentioned how great the team’s defense was at stopping Houston on the critical down Sunday. The offense converted on half of its 14 chances on 3rd downs. Sounds to me like a good formula.

7. After two statement games, Xavier Rhodes’ physicality stood out Sunday.

Rhodes toes a fine line here. At times, he’s playing great and shutting down great receivers like Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham Jr. He’s flustering opponents. At other times, his physicality will not only get under the skin of an opponent, it will also draw penalty flags.

8. Last week, Vikings’ defensive coordinator George Edwards called Brock Osweiler a “great quarterback.”

My analysis after Sunday: Brock Osweiler is not a great quarterback.

9. Sam Bradford is throwing dimes right now.

Whatever you thought about the QB when the Vikings’ made their substantial bet on his present and future, Bradford has been great through four weeks. Peter King even thinks he’s the MVP of the league through 4 games. I’m not sure I’m ready to go that far, but amid all the warranted praise for this team’s defense, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that Bradford is slinging it right now.

His ball to Adam Thielen for the first touchdown of the game was a beauty.

9b. How about Thielen? He found himself open on a number of occasions Sunday, and continues to be a great story out of Minnesota State-Mankato.

10. It’s in many ways surprising the offense is functioning as well as it is without great pass blocking from every spot on the offensive line.

And Brandon Fusco went down on Sunday with an injury.

The Vikings probably need better play from their offensive line to continue to be one of the NFL’s best teams.

The post 10 thoughts: Patterson making waves, Thielen steps in, Bradford dropping dimes appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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