The Minnesota Vikings’ defense, along with a 24 MPH New Jersey wind, grounded the New York Jets on Sunday after both teams had recorded consecutive wins. The Vikings rose to 4-2-1 and on top of the NFC North, while the Jets fell to 3-4 and third place in the AFC East.
Facing a rookie quarterback is becoming part of the itinerary for the Minnesota Vikings during this 2018 season.
After humbling the young Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers in week one, the Vikings’ were embarrassed by Buffalo Bills’ rookie Josh Allen at home in a week three 27-6 loss at home. Just weeks later, Vikings head coach and defensive administrator Mike Zimmer submitted a new lesson plan in their week six matchup with Cardinal rookie Josh Rosen and saw much better results, a 27-17 victory at US Bank Stadium.
On Sunday, at the New Jersey Meadowlands, New York Jets’ rookie Sam Darnold got the same treatment with some variation, resulting in an 37-17 home drubbing of his team in which the first-year player was forced into three interceptions and finished the game with a 34.4 QB rating.
Vikings’ Defensive MVP vs. Jets
Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle
Whether Richardson was fired up about playing his old team or was aware that he needed to make an extra effort to compensate for the absence of fellow defensive tackle Linval Joseph, he displayed as much push, power and chase as we’ve seen from him this season.
In the “3” technique he is responsible for, Richardson was almost constantly double-teamed, yet consistently made a scrum of the Jet’s offensive line designs, allowing the Vikings’ defense to limit New York’s running game to 71 total yards and an average of three yards a carry.
Was it Mike Zimmer’s strong words of support this week that put some “tiger” in Sheldon’s tank? Or has this guy decided that he’s ready to help lead this team back to the top of the league’s defensive ranks?
Keep an eye on number 93. It’s always been a good one in purple-and-gold.
The Minnesota Vikings’ Defensive Unit
After the aforementioned disaster in week three at home against Buffalo bled into a full-blown nightmare in Los Angeles, (where the Rams’ looked a lot like the team from St. Louis in 1999), Mike Zimmer decided to make a few changes in his defensive perspective. He simplified things.
According to linebacker on 1500ESPN, Anthony Barr felt it made a big difference.
“The offseason you have so much time to come up with all these great ideas and I think sometimes it doesn’t go exactly how you drew it up,” Barr said. “Going back to who you are, knowing your identity, doing what you do well has helped us be successful.”
In three consecutive wins, at Philadelphia, at home against Arizona, and now in New York, the Vikings’ defense has looked quite a bit like its 2017 version.
Against a New York Jets team that had amassed 76 points and 886 yards in consecutive home wins, Minnesota got superlative performances from the three levels of their defense on Sunday.
Before their last possession that ended on downs in a game way out of reach, the Jets’ had less than 200 yards in total offense, were 1-13 on third downs, had given up three sacks and numerous QB hits, and turned the ball over four times to the Vikings’ well-coached and relentless defense.
Bravo, fellows. It’s good to see you guys having fun–and winning–again.