Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:03 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:06 pm
I just watched the game highlights, and I have to say, that 1st TD run by Dalvin Cook was just amazing.

For reference, here is video of the play:

https://www.vikings.com/video/cook-flie ... -touchdown

When Cook takes the handoff, it looks like the play is designed to go left of the center, and the Vikings OL gets a good push in that direction, but while the Falcons ceded a few yards after the snap, they're not conceding any holes. If Cook tries to take it where the play appears designed to go, he's going to pick up maybe 2-3 yards before the Falcon defensive tackle or linebacker on the play side makes the stop.

There is a cutback lane that opens up in the area where Jones pulls to the left, but this is rapidly filled by an aggressive Falcons defender. Had Cook not sensed this, he might very well have tried to cut back into this area, only to be tackled quickly or seriously slowed down.

But Cook senses the pressure, both immediately in front of him as well as back to his right and makes a really amazing cut sharply to his left. This cut is so sharp and effective that in the blink of an eye any Falcons defender near the LOS and in a position to make a play on him is literally removed from consideration as a tackler. The aggressive rusher coming from the area vacated by the pulling Jones? Not a factor. The Falcon DT who is eating up that interior space on the play side? Please. The free Falcon linebacker on the play side? He's coming up to supplement the interior tackle, which would have been the right decision except Cook's cut is so sudden and decisive to the outside that the Falcon LB can't recover from his false step and gets caught up in trash. He got shaked and the baked.

Cook's vision in this situation is remarkable. I can't remember the last Vikings RB who could have, and most importantly, *would have*, made that same decision in that situation (maybe AP). I think the majority of NFL running backs would have either plowed it forward play side to take what they could get, or maybe cut it back against the grain, which in this case would have most likely resulted in even less yardage. But to cut it sharply outside to the play side like Cook did literally caught every Falcon near the LOS flat footed. They never had a chance.

I really hope Dalvin stays healthy all year. He's a special player and it's been a long time since we Vikings fans have had the chance to watch a special RB with the ability to alter the flow of games like that.
Love your analysis of this play.

When he made that run, the first thing out of my mouth was, "Wow ... the VISION!" My wife was like, "What do you mean, vision?" So when they ran the replay, I explained it to her in a way similar to what you described (only not as much detail). She said, "Oh, OK. That makes sense."

There are many things that make Dalvin Cook special. His burst is off the charts. He's patient. He runs with purpose and finishes like a train. But that vision ... it's truly top-crust. Go back and watch the long TD in the preseason against the Cardinals. It's almost a carbon copy, only the other direction. If he can stay healthy, and the O-line can stay healthy, he could have a true breakout season that puts him in the very upper echelon of NFL running backs.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by VikingLord » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:55 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:03 pm
There are many things that make Dalvin Cook special. His burst is off the charts. He's patient. He runs with purpose and finishes like a train. But that vision ... it's truly top-crust. Go back and watch the long TD in the preseason against the Cardinals. It's almost a carbon copy, only the other direction. If he can stay healthy, and the O-line can stay healthy, he could have a true breakout season that puts him in the very upper echelon of NFL running backs.
Your response reminds me that I need to say something about the Stefanski-Kubiak situation because I was not sold on that during the preseason. While I can't say I'm sold on it yet as I don't think the Vikings were really tested on offense yet, I observed a few things during the game that did impress me.

Multiple times the camera went to the sidelines after the Vikings offense came off the field. It seemed like each time Stefanski was there talking with his offensive players. He wasn't just high-fiving them, either, but he was down at their eye level as they sat on the bench actively talking with them. Obviously, it's impossible to tell what he was saying, but it seemed consistent with a coach who is getting the on-field perspective of his players. I noticed the game energy of the players was very positive, and I noticed this too about Stefanski. He wasn't sitting on the sideline content to call plays - it seemed like he wanted to get into the flow of the offense and took every opportunity to talk to the guys who were out on the field living it. Great sign if that is what was happening. Players have to love to play for a coach who does that.

Second thing I noticed was the offense played to its strengths. Now as above with the testing, I don't know if the offensive playcalling emphasized the run like that because the coaches felt like they didn't need to throw it, but I noticed that Cousins took most of his snaps from under center. I noticed the zone run blocking and how effective it was for not just Cook, but Mattison and Abdullah, allowing each some freedom to improvise and work off what was in front of them rather than rotely running the play. I noticed the Vikings created a sense of unpredictability in play design, both by effective play action, but also through pre-snap motion. They seemed to have Atlanta second-guessing themselves at times, and I can recall very few times where it looked like the opposing defense was off balance last year.

It's just a single game sample and we don't know if Atlanta is going to live up to their preseason hype, but if that does turn out to be one of the better defenses in the NFL this year, then I'd say the Kubiak-Stefanski partnership has a very good chance of exceeding my expectations.

I am actually excited to see what they can do with this offensive group, including, and maybe especially, Kirk Cousins. If they can prove to be as adept at unleashing his potential as they appear to be unleashing the talented Vikings runners, this is going to be a GREAT year to be a Vikings fan.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by Pondering Her Percy » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:07 pm

S197 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:58 pm
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:52 am
So is anyone else a little worried about the constant "under-center" snaps we're taking?? Or is it just me. I havent heard many opinions on that yet.

I just get worried that in passing situations, we're still going under center, and it's taking some time for Kirk to get to a 5-7 step drop (as it would any QB), and our OL cant hold up as long. I would feel much more comfortable in shotgun there. And I'd like to see them run out of shotgun a little more too so it doesnt seem so predictable.
I'm more concerned about Elflein but that does play into the 5-7 step drops. I think they'll utilize play action a lot more to help, they really didn't need it much this game. I'm thinking similar to McVey's offense.

Cook looked great but if I had to pick one area to be critical, he needs to run with lower pad level when initiating contact. There were a number of plays where he got stood straight up and pancaked. It's very picky for a great performance but something he needs to work on to get to the next level.
Agreed. Elflein is starting to worry me. I’m wondering if it’s his strength? I mean he’s a pretty athletic OL. He was pretty solid his rookie year but just hasn’t bounced back.

One player nobody is talking about that I thought played well was Kline. I thought he did an excellent job when pulling.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:19 pm

Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:07 pm
S197 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:58 pm


I'm more concerned about Elflein but that does play into the 5-7 step drops. I think they'll utilize play action a lot more to help, they really didn't need it much this game. I'm thinking similar to McVey's offense.

Cook looked great but if I had to pick one area to be critical, he needs to run with lower pad level when initiating contact. There were a number of plays where he got stood straight up and pancaked. It's very picky for a great performance but something he needs to work on to get to the next level.
Agreed. Elflein is starting to worry me. I’m wondering if it’s his strength? I mean he’s a pretty athletic OL. He was pretty solid his rookie year but just hasn’t bounced back.

One player nobody is talking about that I thought played well was Kline. I thought he did an excellent job when pulling.
Kline is a zone-scheme guy. It's what he did in Tennessee. I'm not surprised he was good in the running game. He's not an all-pro, but he's pretty solid.

The other person the outsize zone scheme benefits is Riley Reiff. No team in college football runs the outside zone better than the University of Iowa. They coach up that technique really, really well. Reiff did it at Iowa, and he's gonna be right at home with it in Minnesota. In fact, I thought the Vikings ran left very well yesterday, which of course is Reiff's side. It's also Kline's pull side, when they run sweeps.

Don't know what's going on with Elflein. He's getting overwhelmed at times. Bradbury will be OK. He's a rookie, and he'll learn to use leverage and athleticism to fend off those big boys inside.

A little worried about Akeem Hicks in a couple of weeks. But let's see how they improve against GB and Oakland.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by Maelstrom88 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:13 pm

According to pff:

The Minnesota Vikings were the 32nd ranked offensive line in team pass block grade week 1 and will have another tough test against the Packers this week.

Gotta get better or Cousins will be on IR.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by Rhodes Closed » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:34 pm

Maelstrom88 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:13 pm
According to pff:

The Minnesota Vikings were the 32nd ranked offensive line in team pass block grade week 1 and will have another tough test against the Packers this week.

Gotta get better or Cousins will be on IR.
Considering we only passed TEN times, I'm gonna say that ranking is not telling the whole story, or is out of context.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by Maelstrom88 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:44 pm

Rhodes Closed wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:34 pm
Maelstrom88 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:13 pm
According to pff:

The Minnesota Vikings were the 32nd ranked offensive line in team pass block grade week 1 and will have another tough test against the Packers this week.

Gotta get better or Cousins will be on IR.
Considering we only passed TEN times, I'm gonna say that ranking is not telling the whole story, or is out of context.
Also, surprisingly, Bradbury was the lowest graded Viking at 35. I thought Elf was much worse.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by The negotiator » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:02 pm

Maelstrom88 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:13 pm
According to pff:

The Minnesota Vikings were the 32nd ranked offensive line in team pass block grade week 1 and will have another tough test against the Packers this week.

Gotta get better or Cousins will be on IR.
Spot on! Cousins cannot take those blind side hits. Small sample size but the jury is still out on Reiff and Elf. They have to play better. It still feels like our receivers are not getting the separation and Kirk has to throw perfect dimes. Maybe it’s just me. The rest of the offensive play calling and overall team execution was solid.
Great win!
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by VikingLord » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:36 pm

Maelstrom88 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:13 pm
According to pff:

The Minnesota Vikings were the 32nd ranked offensive line in team pass block grade week 1 and will have another tough test against the Packers this week.

Gotta get better or Cousins will be on IR.
Do they specify the factors that go into that pass block grade?

Hard to say if I agree with the grade because I don't know what goes into it, but Cousins was 8 out of 10 and threw a TD. Cousins was sacked once I believe for a minimal loss, but he took a bad blindside hit (miracle he didn't fumble on that one). There was also the bad exchange between Bradbury and Cousins on the one snap.

I think the pass blocking in general was decent given the limited sample size. There were some breakdowns, but 2 of the completions went for solid yardage (TD to Thielen and big pass to Diggs later in the game).
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by Maelstrom88 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:30 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:36 pm
Maelstrom88 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:13 pm
According to pff:

The Minnesota Vikings were the 32nd ranked offensive line in team pass block grade week 1 and will have another tough test against the Packers this week.

Gotta get better or Cousins will be on IR.
Do they specify the factors that go into that pass block grade?

Hard to say if I agree with the grade because I don't know what goes into it, but Cousins was 8 out of 10 and threw a TD. Cousins was sacked once I believe for a minimal loss, but he took a bad blindside hit (miracle he didn't fumble on that one). There was also the bad exchange between Bradbury and Cousins on the one snap.

I think the pass blocking in general was decent given the limited sample size. There were some breakdowns, but 2 of the completions went for solid yardage (TD to Thielen and big pass to Diggs later in the game).
Good post. I'm not really sure how they grade. I would assume it's pressures allowed for 5he passing game but I have no idea. I think it is too early to tell given the sample size. I'm hoping they can run the ball effectively and they stay healthy so they can gel as the season goes on. I think this upcoming off-season they will need to draft offensive and defensive lineman. Possibly another cornerback and slot wide receiver as well. Way too early for that talk though! :lol:
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by Purplepain2018 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:50 pm

I agree with almost everything everyone has said. The team looked great, energetic and like they had a purpose. However, now comes the test. In order to be a good, very good team, you HAVE to WIN ON THE ROAD!!!
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by S197 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:42 am

Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:07 pm
S197 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:58 pm


I'm more concerned about Elflein but that does play into the 5-7 step drops. I think they'll utilize play action a lot more to help, they really didn't need it much this game. I'm thinking similar to McVey's offense.

Cook looked great but if I had to pick one area to be critical, he needs to run with lower pad level when initiating contact. There were a number of plays where he got stood straight up and pancaked. It's very picky for a great performance but something he needs to work on to get to the next level.
Agreed. Elflein is starting to worry me. I’m wondering if it’s his strength? I mean he’s a pretty athletic OL. He was pretty solid his rookie year but just hasn’t bounced back.

One player nobody is talking about that I thought played well was Kline. I thought he did an excellent job when pulling.
I think strength is part of it but he just seems out of sync. On the Cook TD that’s linked above, he’s lucky he didn’t get called for a block in the back. Then there’s this play, where he luckily whiffs on an illegal cut block and then proceeds to roll down the field like he’s on fire.

https://twitter.com/mattwaldman/status/ ... 57632?s=21

Don’t get me wrong, he had good plays as well. On the Mattison near-TD he did a great job getting downfield and throwing a great lead block. But I think a lot of us thought Bradbury, Elflein, O’Neil could be the core of a young and talented line. I’m starting to rethink that. It’s still very early and hopefully he improves/gels with the rest of the line but right now he’s surprisingly the OL’s biggest liability.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by Pondering Her Percy » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:16 am

S197 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:42 am
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:07 pm


Agreed. Elflein is starting to worry me. I’m wondering if it’s his strength? I mean he’s a pretty athletic OL. He was pretty solid his rookie year but just hasn’t bounced back.

One player nobody is talking about that I thought played well was Kline. I thought he did an excellent job when pulling.
I think strength is part of it but he just seems out of sync. On the Cook TD that’s linked above, he’s lucky he didn’t get called for a block in the back. Then there’s this play, where he luckily whiffs on an illegal cut block and then proceeds to roll down the field like he’s on fire.

https://twitter.com/mattwaldman/status/ ... 57632?s=21

Don’t get me wrong, he had good plays as well. On the Mattison near-TD he did a great job getting downfield and throwing a great lead block. But I think a lot of us thought Bradbury, Elflein, O’Neil could be the core of a young and talented line. I’m starting to rethink that. It’s still very early and hopefully he improves/gels with the rest of the line but right now he’s surprisingly the OL’s biggest liability.
Yes I agree. I think O'Neill is going to be an excellent player. I thought he played well this week. Bradbury it's hard to tell right now. I like what I see and he does get to the second level very quickly.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by Raptorman » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:11 pm

The only thing I want the Vikings to do is to keep trying to score. I don't care if you are up 35-0, never let your foot off the gas. It's the other teams' job to stop you from scoring. If they can't, that is their problem, not yours.
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Re: Week 1 Win!: Falcons Post-Game Discussion

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:19 pm

Raptorman wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:11 pm
The only thing I want the Vikings to do is to keep trying to score. I don't care if you are up 35-0, never let your foot off the gas. It's the other teams' job to stop you from scoring. If they can't, that is their problem, not yours.
Yeah, I lean that way, too.

I get the idea of running the ball to shorten the game when you're up 4 scores. But it felt like the Vikings got TOO conservative against Atlanta. The stretch outside zone plays and the toss sweeps and misdirection stopped. The straight-ahead runs took over, and that's not what we're going to be good at in the running game.
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