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The Glass Half Full

Photo: Half Full Beer
Half empty or half full?

As maddening as was the loss to the Packers last Sunday (and make no mistake, Green Bay didn’t win that game, the Vikings lost it), the first two weeks of the season provide reason for optimistism.

The Defense

The Vikings defense completely dominated a good Falcons team that went on to beat a good Eagles team last Sunday. And though we spotted the Packers 21 points, Mike Zimmer finally got around to making the adjustments that slowed Rodgers’ offense enough to position us to win.

Photo: Everson Griffen
Everson Griffen. Photo courtesy Minnesota Vikings

It appears that Everson Griffen is back to his old form, which gives us twin terrors from the ends. Skor North’s Matthew Coller points out:

Through two weeks, Griffen is tied with Green Back Packers rusher Zadarius Smith and teammate Danielle Hunter for the NFL lead in QB pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Following a strong Week 1 in which he posted four pressures on Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Zimmer said that Griffen looked like his old self, the 31-year-old rusher had an incredible day against the Packers, pressuring Aaron Rodgers 11 times.

To put his early-season numbers in context, Griffen’s highest pressure total on an opposing QB  after his Week 9 return from a mental health issue was six against the woeful Detroit Lions. His combined pressure from Week 11 through Week 17 added up to just 14 pressures — one less than he has through two weeks of 2019.

Lost in the lost: Everson Griffen dominated the Packers

Dalvin Cook

Two weeks into the season and Dalvin Cook leads the NFL in rushing with 265 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries for an average of 6.5 yards per carry.

The numbers don’t tell the whole story.

He’s certainly an electrifying player to watch, as his 75 yard touchdown run last week can attest. It is also clear from his performances that the has great vision to identify the holes, the patience to allow plays to develop, the moves to elude defenders, the power to break tackles, the burst to slip through the holes before they close, and the flat-out speed to destroy defenders’ angles of attack.

He also appears to be an adept receiver but we’ve only really seen him on screens and as an outlet option. Though he’s lined up out wide, we haven’t really seen him run routes as a receiver.

That’s what I’m waiting for. I had hoped that Adrian Peterson would’ve been used as a deep threat, given his speed. I had hoped that, that is, until it became obvious that he wasn’t a very good receiver.

I renew my hope now with Cook hopefully serving as the kind of dual threat weapon Chuck Foreman was back in the day. He was one of Fran Tarketon‘s favorite receiving targets and he wasn’t afraid to target him deep. But then Foreman was a wide receiver during his senior year in college, so the position wasn’t new to him.

It does appear that Cook could present that kind of a threat. He just has to stay healthy for a whole season.

More: Check out this excellent breakdown of Dalvin Cook’s game by NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling.

Chad Beebe

So far, so good.

The Crossed One is making it a lot easier to erase the bitter memory of Laquon Treadwell.

Against the Falcons, Chad Beebe hauled in a nine yard catch for a third down conversion. This week against the Packers, he popped open for a 61 yard catch and run that showed off his speed and put the Vikings at the Green Bay 13 yard line, leading to a field goal.

Now, if he could just not fumble punt returns.

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