Vikings Position Grades – Week 3

Vikings Position Grades – Week 3

Every week the guys down at Vikings Barroom will offer a letter grade for each position or positional group on the roster. These grades will be kept throughout the season to create a running cumulative grade.

The following grades reflect the Minnesota Vikings’ performance against the Carolina Panthers during Week 3 of the NFL regular season.

Grading Scale

A+: 4.0. A: 3.7. A-: 3.5.

B+: 3.3. B: 3.0. B-: 2.7.

C+: 2.4. C: 2.0. C-: 1.7.

D: 1.5. D-: 1.0. F: 0.5.

Quarterback

Brief Analysis: Following a dreadfully slow start, Sam Bradford responded with 18 completions on 28 attempts (64%), 171 passing yards and a touchdown in his second start for the Vikings. It’s beginning to feel safe to say that Rick Spielman secured the quarterback spot following the injury to Teddy Bridgewater.

Week 3 Grades: B- (BJ Reidell); B- (Drew Mahowald); B+ (Tony Wenham); B (Matt Krier); C+ (Jordan Reid); B+ (Tyler Haag); B+ (Jordan Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: B- (2.95)

Cumulative Season Grade: B (3.23)

Running Backs

Brief Analysis: Jerick McKinnon was OK in his first start of the 2016 season, putting together 45 yards on 16 carries (2.8 avg.) behind a makeshift offensive line that had its hands full with Carolina’s stout defensive front. The Vikings will need more from McKinnon, Matt Asiata and Co. moving forward if their win streak is to continue.

Week 3 Grades: C (Reidell); B- (Mahowald); C+ (Wenham); B (Krier); C- (Reid); B (Haag); B- (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: C+ (2.5)

Cumulative Season Grade: C- (1.96)

Wide Receivers

Brief Analysis: Stefon Diggs turned another solid effort (four catches, 40 receiving yards) and Adam Thielen continued to prove why he has seen an increase in snaps this year, but Charles Johnson (two targets, one drop) weighs down a group that was not a significant factor in Minnesota’s victory. Diggs, however, still ranks 2nd in the NFL in receiving yards despite turning in his first sub-100 receiving yard game of the season.

Week 3 Grades: C (Reidell); C+ (Mahowald); B- (Wenham); C (Krier); C (Reid); B (Haag); C+ (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: C (2.07)

Cumulative Season Grade: B (3.02)

Tight Ends

Brief Analysis: It appears as if Kyle Rudolph is finally ready to put it all together following his third consecutive game with a touchdown catch. Rudolph led all receivers in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (70) on his way to another impressive showing. Rhett Ellison also chipped in an 18-yard reception to add to a strong afternoon for the Vikings’ tight end corps.

Week 3 Grades: A (Reidell); A- (Mahowald); B+ (Wenham); A- (Krier); B (Reid); A- (Haag); B+ (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: B+ (3.4)

Cumulative Season Grade: B (3.21)

Offensive Line

Brief Analysis: Considering the circumstances, the Vikings offensive line was actually pretty solid against the Panthers. Minnesota lost starting left guard Alex Boone midway through the game, and Jeremiah Sirles prove to be a competent replacement. This unit desperately needs to improve its run-blocking, but it appears as if offensive coordinator Norv Turner has a “plan” to scheme around the pass protection issues; Bradford was sacked just twice in Carolina.

Week 3 Grades: B- (Reidell); B (Mahowald); D (Wenham); C- (Krier); C+ (Reid); B- (Haag); C- (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: C (2.24)

Cumulative Season Grade: C- (1.88)

Defensive Line

Brief Analysis: Unstoppable. Everson Griffen (3), Brian Robison (1), Danielle Hunter (1) and Linval Joseph contributed six of the Vikings’ eight sacks of Cam Newton, and the safety recorded by Hunter could very well have changed the outcome of the game. Minnesota’s defensive line put together a single-game performance for the ages against what most would consider a solid Carolina front-five.

Week 3 Grades: A+ (Reidell); A+ (Mahowald); A+ (Wenham); A+ (Krier); A (Reid); A+ (Haag); A (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: A (3.91)

Cumulative Season Grade: A- (3.5)

Linebackers

Brief Analysis: Anthony Barr recorded a sack, Eric Kendricks led the team in tackles (12) and the mid-level of Vikings defense kept Newton guessing all afternoon with Zimmer’s 722 look. Barr, who had been relatively pedestrian against Tennessee and Green Bay, turned in a very strong effort both as a pass-rusher and in coverage.

Week 3 Grades: A- (Reidell); B+ (Mahowald); B+ (Wenham); A+ (Krier); B+ (Reid); B (Haag); B+ (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: B+ (3.38)

Cumulative Season Grade: B (3.22)

Defensive Backs

Brief Analysis: Carolina’s No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had one target and zero catches — that’s about all one needs to know about the performance of Minnesota’s secondary. Xavier Rhodes was outstanding in his first game of 2016, Trae Waynes continues to improve in his sophomore season and Harrison Smith is arguably the most lethal defensive player in the NFL.

Week 3 Grades: A (Reidell); A+ (Mahowald); A- (Wenham); A (Krier); B (Reid); A (Haag); A (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: A- (3.61)

Cumulative Season Grade: B (3.01)

Special Teams

Brief Analysis: Similar to how Hunter influenced the game by sacking Newton in the end zone, Marcus Sherels may very well shifted momentum in Minnesota’s favor with his 54-yard punt return touchdown. Add in that Jeff Locke — gasp — turned in an outstanding punting performance and Blair Walsh knocked down both of his field goal attempts and its a strong outing for Mike Priefer’s unit. The lone blemish on the corps’ impressive Week 3 résumé was yet another missed extra point by Walsh.

Week 3 Grades: A- (Reidell); A+ (Mahowald); A (Wenham); B+ (Krier); A (Reid); A (Haag); B (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: A- (3.55)

Cumulative Season Grade: B- (2.92)

Coaching

Brief Analysis: Zimmer is in the Coach of the Year conversation after leading his defense to another outstanding performance. Turner was solid at times but continued to call plays — especially early in the game — that left fans scratching their heads. Given the circumstances, however, this was a well-coached game and the grades of the Vikings Barroom staff reflect it.

Week 3 Grades: A (Reidell); A+ (Mahowald); A (Wenham); A (Krier); B+ (Reid); A (Haag); A (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: A- (3.68)

Cumulative Season Grade: B (3.21)

Overall Team Performance

Brief Analysis: Between Weeks 2 and 3, the Vikings put starting running back Adrian Peterson and starting left tackle Matt Kalil on injured reserve and announced that defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd would have surgery to repair a knee ailment. And yet, Minnesota went on the road and defeated the 2015 NFC champion Panthers rather convincingly — that’s an impressive performance in its own right.

Week 3 Grades: A (Reidell); A (Mahowald); B+ (Wenham); A (Krier); B+ (Reid); A- (Haag); B+ (Groll)

Cumulative Week 3 Grade: A- (3.5)

Cumulative Season Grade: B (3.13)

 

For more news, analysis and amusing jargon, follow @VikingsBaroom on Twitter!

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