by Mike Marek
In a battle of winless teams at the quarter of the season mark, it was only fitting that they called in the old wrestling gimmick of hosting a loser leaves town match. Typically, these occurred when a professional wrestler had worn out their welcome in their current syndicate and was ready to jump to a new program (think WCW versus WWF). On Sunday the Vikings versus Texans, i.e. Zimmer versus O’Brien, turned out to be one of these classic matchups. Zimmer held on to secure the win and his job. O’Brien, on the other hand. was promptly fired the next day.
The NFL has always been about wins and losses, and the way things have been trending for the Vikings, Zimmer may not be able to settle in for the rest of the season quite yet. My thoughts on the game that may have saved Zimmer’s Vikings career:
Justin Jefferson looks like he is the real deal. I am not ready to call him a full replacement for Stefon Diggs, but he is off to an impressive start. Plus, he has better dance moves. That, in addition to being at worst a neutral influence in the locker room, makes the Diggs trade worth it. Just imagine for a second Diggs on this team right now sitting at 1-3. I can’t see him being a good influence on his teammates.
Dalvin Cook looks about as good as ever. Now if we can just get Zimmer to leave him in the game during pivotal fourth quarter drives, we may just be able to win a few more games.
Adam Thielen rounds out the impressive performers from week three, with having over 100 yards receiving on eight catches. When you add up Thielen, Jefferson, and Cook it’s hard to find a better set of skill position players in the NFL. Now if they could just pair those three with a consistent quarterback and defense …
Speaking of the defense, I think we saw them take some strides in the win. Are they where they need to be yet? Absolutely not. Is the pass-rush still non-existent? Yes, and it doesn’t seem like Danielle Hunter is anywhere close to returning yet. The refs didn’t do the Vikings any favors with the ejection of Harrison Smith, however, we did quickly find out that George Iloka is no longer an NFL caliber player. So, it was good for something I guess. I was somewhat impressed with how the linebackers and corners are continuing to develop as they are thrown into the proverbial fire. I think this is going to pay dividends over the next several weeks.
Looking at this Sunday it’s hard to predict a Vikings’ victory. First, the game is against Seattle, whom the Vikings have not beat since Brett Favre suited up in purple in 2009. Pair that with the fact that Kirk Cousins tends to disappear in prime-time games, and you have a recipe for disaster. Thank God that this game isn’t on Monday or we would already be dead in the water. Realistically it seems plausible that the Vikings can find a way to score with the Seahawks, however, I think they have little to no chance of slowing down the onslaught of what has been Russell Wilson this year. Russell is on a campaign to win the MVP and nothing appears to be able to slow him. Stranger things have happened, but it’s hard to see through this one into a Vikings’ victory on Sunday.