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Bleacher Report – Vikings

First half observations: Vikings lead Lions 7-3

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings are facing off with the Detroit Lions at US Bank Stadium. Here are several observations from the first half:

Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter are eating

The Vikings’ defensive line is dominating Detroit’s O-line. Hunter has two sacks against Rick Wagner and Linval Joseph added another. Joseph also controlled the center and guard on a play that was blown up in the backfield by Anthony Barr.

Case Keenum is gunslingin, for better or worse

From the first drive of last week’s game, Case Keenum threw all over the Tampa Bay Bucs. It doesn’t appear he will be setting any career highs against the Lions. He struggled early in the game with pressure, throwing several inaccurate passes that ended drives. On the Vikings’ final drive of the half, Keenum hit two throws down the field on plays where he escaped the pocket, but also tossed one up for grabs toward Laquon Treadwell that should have been intercepted. Luckily for Keenum, the ball was dropped and the drive ended in a touchdown by Dalvin Cook.

Dalvin is Cooking

Four games in, it’s still eye-catching to see the Vikings creating running holes. On Dalvin Cook’s 5-yard touchdown run, tackle Riley Reiff eliminated Ziggy Ansah from the play. Cook has been continually effective throughout the half, picking up 52 yards on 11 carries.

Fourth down decisions

This offseason, Zimmer said he planned to be aggressive and he certainly showed that with a fake punt against the Steelers, but the Vikings’ head coach passed on two potential opportunities to go for it on fourth down vs. the Lions. Once on the Detroit 40 with 4th-and-5 and another on 4th-and-short at their own 36.

Mackensie Alexander seeing time early

The Vikings traded for Tramaine Brock as insurance in case Alexander struggled in the slot corner role. So far this season, Mike Zimmer has used Alexander to rotate in at both outside and slot corner. He was on the field for several plays on the first two drives. The former second-round pick has performed well thus far, but has not often been tested by opponents.

All of Detroit’s LBs are hurt

The Lions entered Sunday’s game without first-round draft pick linebacker Jarrad Davis and during the first half they lost outside linebackers Paul Worrilow and Tahir Whitehead. As a response, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has dialed up a number of plays with two and three tight ends.

Golden Tate held down until the final drive

Coming into the game, Tate led the Lions in receiving with 21 catches, but the Vikings held him in check throughout most of the first half. He caught two passes on the final drive, but still finished the half with only three receptions for 29 yards.

The post First half observations: Vikings lead Lions 7-3 appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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