Silver Linings Following Vikings’ 3rd Consecutive Loss

Silver Linings Following Vikings’ 3rd Consecutive Loss

The Minnesota Vikings lost their third game in a row this past Sunday in Minneapolis, as a surprisingly rejuvenated Detroit Lions team edged them out 22-16 in overtime.

After scoring late in the fourth quarter and despite the Lions having no timeouts remaining, the Vikings defense allowed Detroit to move into field goal range. Matt Prater kicked a game-tying 58-yarder as time expired to send the game to overtime, where the Vikings lost on a touchdown pass that featured two missed tackles and a vomit-inducing front flip by wide receiver Golden Tate as he crossed the goal-line to end the contest.

It may feel like the season is falling apart, like the wheels are falling off, like our kicker can’t make kicks … but only one of those things is true. There are encouraging things to be gleaned from this frustrating and heartbreaking loss as well.

After two weeks of absolutely laughable production from the offensive unit, Norv Turner resigned and the Pat Shurmur era began for the Vikings. After one week, it looks like this was a good thing for this football team.

[graphiq id=”fG6DMBB8rs1″ title=”Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings – Game Recap” width=”600″ height=”800″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/fG6DMBB8rs1″ link=”http://nfl-games.pointafter.com/l/20415/Detroit-Lions-at-Minnesota-Vikings-on-November-6th-2016″ link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

The offensive line looked much better — not that it could get any worse — as Sam Bradford completed several quick passes early in the game to help alleviate the Detroit pass-rush, and the Vikings pass protection held up long enough late in the game to scrape together a couple important drives when they needed them most. Bradford completed 31 passes for 273 yards with no interceptions and also spread the ball around to nine different receivers — 10 if you include the pass he completed to himself.

One of the other completed passes was to Laquon Treadwell. Yes, you read that correctly.

The first-round pick had been nearly non-existent this season but made his presence known on offense this week, catching one pass for 15 yards while playing the most snaps (17) of his young NFL career — a huge jump in playing time for a wide receiver that wasn’t even active for three games this season. Vikings fans have been wondering for weeks when they would get to see what Treadwell is capable of and, although we are just scratching the surface here, after watching multiple awful offensive outputs, it is refreshing to see No. 11 in the huddle with the big boys.

Another wide-out who saw his inclusion in the offense increase this week was Cordarelle Patterson. Patterson’s slowly expanding role has been noted in the past, but this week was certainly a nudge in the right direction, as he was on the field for 57 percent of the Vikings offensive plays (40 snaps) in addition to continuing his exceptional play on special teams.

Increasing Patterson’s snaps on offense worked in Minnesota’s favor, as he caught six passes for 45 yards. But, the way the Vikings were able to get the ball in his hands — screens, quick-hitters, etc.) was even more encouraging than his volume totals.

In Shurmur’s first game running the show on offense, the passes came out faster, the offensive line looked much steadier and both Patterson and Treadwell were immediately more involved in the game plan.

Yes, the Vikings lost a game that they likely should have won, but at least this week this wasn’t a result of a completely incompetent offensive performance.

 

All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference, unless otherwise noted.

For more Vikings notes and numbers, follow @VikingsBarroom and @tylerhaag_ on Twitter!

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