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Bleacher Report – Vikings

4 thoughts: Vikings hit a couple home runs, new kicker Kai Forbath, Xavier Rhodes

By Derek Wetmore

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings at last snapped their losing streak. They halted the four-game skid with a 30-24 win against the Arizona Cardinals at home on a chilly November afternoon to improve to 6-4.

This column presents 4 thoughts from Sunday’s win.

1. When the Vikings defense was looking all around for an answer, Xavier Rhodes provided one.

The Cardinals were driving late in the first half, and it looked like they were going to march in for the touchdown.

Not on Rhodes’ watch. He dropped back in coverage and jumped into the path of the ball to pick it off, and then it was off to the races. Rhodes showed off his ball hawk skills and also his top-end speed all the way down the sideline. After he had every Cardinals player beat, he cut back to the middle of the field to house it.

His 100-yard yard interception return is the longest in Vikings history, which topped the previous mark of 97 yards, set in 1991.

He also intercepted a pass later in the game when Carson Palmer overthrew is man, and Rhodes was there over the top of the go route to make a diving catch and swipe possession away from Arizona.

2. Rhodes wasn’t the only one to hit a home run Sunday. Cordarrelle Patterson got in on the fun, too.

Patterson took the opening kickoff of the second half back from halfway buried in his own end zone all the way to the other end of the field for a touchdown.

According to the Vikings, it’s the first time in team history that two players had plays over 100 or more yards in the same game. So if you watched the game you witnessed history being made.

Patterson said that when he saw the hole set up by his blockers, he knew he couldn’t miss it.

“A truck could have got through that hole,” Patterson said, probably exaggerating slightly. “With my speed, those guys trust me and once I hit the hole, they feel like I’m going to score and I feel like I’m going to score too. That’s the confidence we have on special teams…just go out there and just dominate.”

Patterson is one of the league’s premier return men, but even with that confidence he knows the home run chances will be few and far between with the rate at which teams can boom kicks into the end zone.

“We talk about it all the time – you might only have one chance [to score] each week. When you get it just go with it and take the opportunity.”

Oh, and not to be missed: Patterson’s pregame fashion statement.

#Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson sports himself on his socks. pic.twitter.com/6zK0P6zjLR

— Brace Hemmelgarn (@bracehemmelgarn) November 20, 2016

3. There were two hits late in the game that I think are very clear-cut in terms of what should be called a penalty.

Both were called a penalty against the Cardinals, and I get why, but I don’t think that makes it the right call.

On one play, the Vikings ran a direct snap to Matt Asiata out of the wildcat formation. (It’s worth noting that the Vikings had a double lateral out of that formation in the game, in which Bradford ended up with the ball in his hands and threw toward the endzone, where Adam Thielen drew a defensive pass interference penalty.)

Bradford lined up wide right on the play in question, and even though it was a run to Asiata, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson crushed Bradford behind the play. He was flagged. I don’t think he should be. The NFL should do what it can to protect quarterbacks, but that’s a cheap penalty if you’re the Vikings, because you’re lining Bradford up as either a) a decoy; b) a lateral option or c) a blocker, and he shouldn’t get the same benefit of QB protection in those cases. Peterson was beside himself with the penalty call, and I think he has good reason to be.

Later, Stefon Diggs was hit while he was on his way to the ground with a blow to the head. That was called a penalty and should be. The NFL needs to continue to make good on its appeal for increased player safety, and hits to the head don’t fit within that goal.

4. The Vikings have a new kicker and Vikings fans showed their love right away.

Or they just couldn’t resist casting shade one more time in the direction of Blair Walsh.

Walsh, who was cut earlier this week and replaced by the free agent Forbath, must have been really unpopular among fans in his final weeks with the team.

In the first quarter, when Sam Bradford made a beautiful throw to the outside shoulder of Adam Thielen for a touchdown, the fans went nuts.

Then Forbath kicked an extra point and you’ve never in your life heard a louder collective cheer for an extra point.

Louder cheers for Kai Forbath’s extra point than for Adam Thielen’s touchdown? Savage, Vikings fans.

— Derek Wetmore (@DerekWetmore) November 20, 2016

Now, to be fair, this is all relative. Thielen’s TD originally was ruled incomplete. Mike Zimmer challenged it and it was overturned, which the fans were expecting based on the replays displayed on the big board. Relative to the typical level of noise each event produces, there’s no question the extra point was louder than its counterparts, while there was nothing notable about the noise level after the touchdown.

Message sent, Vikings fans.

(Also, in another twist of coincidence, Forbath’s first field goal was good from 27 yards out. He had an extra point blocked, but it’s hard to fault the kicker in that instance.)

The post 4 thoughts: Vikings hit a couple home runs, new kicker Kai Forbath, Xavier Rhodes appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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