Top Plays: Vikings at Browns in London

We overuse the term “must have game” but it applies here. The Vikings were going against a winless team on a neutral site. They had a clear fan advantage and a chance to send an early message on Sunday. With other top NFC teams also having favorable matchups, a loss would have felt catastrophic. That’s what unnerved us so much about our purple’s slow start.

But this is football. It ain’t all pretty and shiny and fun. Sometimes you have to outplay your opponents; other times you do your best to outlast them. Sometimes you can run a team over; other times you just have to make less mistakes. In year four, it’s clear that Zimmer’s teams don’t try for style points. Find a way to win, like they did today. Let’s look at the top plays!

1st and 10 at MIN 26

(11:20 – 1st) Isaiah Crowell 26 Yard Run (Zane Gonzalez PAT failed)

Crowell WK8

Instant Reaction

My goodness not like this. Not like this! The terrible start continues as Crowell navigates his way through the middle of our defense, with Barr and Kendricks playing wide. Ant Harris misses the only tackle attempt on the play and Crowell walks into the end zone. At least they missed the extra point.

Upon Further Review

This game was filled with penalties and turnovers, starting from the whistle. Case Keenum threw another first drive interception on a tipped pass. The Browns took immediate advantage, scoring on a two-play drive that started on our 37 yard line. They came out looking exactly as we feared against an inferior opponent, giving Cleveland confidence early. The start also strategically enabled Cleveland to lean on their strong rushing attack in a close game.

2nd and 5 at CLE 18

(2:48 – 2nd) Adam Thielen Pass from Case Keenum for 18 Yards K.Forbath extra point is Blocked (E.Ogbah)

Thielen WK8

Instant Reaction

Oh no another slow developing RB pass. Then Keenum scrambles and finds THIELEN in the back of the end zone! We got the lead baby! I love the soccer celebration! And it’s a baseball score after Forbath’s extra point gets blocked.

Upon Further Review

Case started terribly but started heating up on the Vikings sixth possession. He slung it to David Morgan on a clutch 3rd down, then found Thielen just hanging back there to give us Minnesota the lead. A great throw on the run. Look, Keenum is streaky at best, but he makes great plays when he’s hot.

 

3rd and 12 at CLE 16

(1:59 – 2nd) (Shotgun) D.Kizer pass deep left to R.Louis ran out of bounds at MIN 47 for 37 yards (X.Rhodes)

Louis WK8

Instant Reaction

Wow. Rhodes juts gets straight up beat on a great catch and better throw. Kizer unloads a bullet to Louis down the left sideline. His receiver ends his route by nabbing the deep back shoulder toss. Xavier ran with him well in man coverage but his deflection attempt comes late as he spins around. Great ball placement.

Upon Further Review

Two plays later Kizer and Crowell combined for another big pass play. They finished the drive with a TD to regain the lead and our stress levels returned. A lackluster first half crazily ended with 3 straight scoring drives. The defense didn’t necessarily play badly first half, but the Browns offense looked great on this singular drive. That narrative changed after halftime.

 

1st and Goal at CLE 1

(1:16 – 3rd) Jerick McKinnon 1 Yard Rush (Pass formation) TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. J.McKinnon rushes left guard. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS.

McKinnon WK8

Instant Reaction

That’s why they call it a JET sweep! McKinnon gets the TD he deserves after coming in motion from right to left. Surprisingly, a good play call by Shurmur! And again Jets hits for the 2 point conversion! 7 point game let’s go!

Upon Further Review

The turning point occurred during this drive. Thielen made a fantastic catch to get our Vikings across midfield. Then another Cleveland mistake, this time pass interference in the end zone, put the ball on the one yard line. Jerick did the rest, scoring much needed and much deserved points. Jet beasted and feasted today.

 

2nd and Goal at CLE 4

(10:06 – 4th) Kyle Rudolph Pass from Case Keenum for 4 Yards K.Forbath extra point is GOOD

Rudolph WK8

Instant Reaction

Keenum darts a high ball that ONLY Kyle Rudolph can come down with! The big reindeer put us up by 14! They fought through the adversity and now they have full control of this game! I’M LOVING EVERYBODY!

Upon Further Review

Boom! Just like that they got touchdowns on back to back drives! While our defense completely shut down the Browns, the offense found its feet just enough. That and Cleveland’s mistakes (a muffed punt, field goals, and several penalties) turned this game into a blowout.

Final Take

SKOL! The SKOL Chant rang a rattled that Rugby Stadium! Our purple come back across the pond with a solid victory. They head into the bye week with everything to play for. Take a deep breath because we’re only halfway through this roller coaster season. Despite injuries and QB controversy, 6-2 is a great place to be!

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