As of Sunday, the 8-1 Vikings have the second-best record in the NFL, behind only the undefeated Eagles. So… is Minnesota the second-best team in the NFL? Well, if these were the NFL power rankings, as opposed to the Schein Nine, I would actually put the Vikes at #2. They totally deserved it after an exciting overtime win in Buffalo. So the above statement is factual.
I love Kevin O’Connell. I love his playbook and his positivity. He’s a gem, a prime contender for Coach of the Year. I can’t imagine a lot of people thought he would win eight of his first nine games as head coach, and this latest triumph was more than just another step up the Victory Column. We were waiting for Minnesota to deliver a true statement win. On Sunday in western New York, O’Connell’s team came back from a 17-point deficit in the second half and defeated Buffalo, my pick for the preseason Super Bowl. That will work.
Minnesota weathered the craziest, best game of the season yet — and eventually thrived. Justin Jefferson offered another masterpiece, catching 10 balls for 193 yards and a touchdown. His highlight reel from that game alone includes numerous stunning performances, but none are bigger than the 32-yard grab in fourth and 18th, which saw the 23-year-old single-handedly highlight Kirk Cousins’ lift and the ball rips away from Bill’s DB Cam Lewis before somehow retaining possession on his descent onto the turf. Just unbelievable – but nothing new for the number 18 either. Jefferson has played 42 games in this league and he has 20 100-yard stakes to his credit. That’s the 100th appearances by an NFL player in his first three seasons, and the guy has eight more games to go! Credit also goes to Cousins, who bounced back from two terrible interceptions to have brilliant returns in the fourth quarter and overtime, where he netted his fifth winner of the season – already a career high!
I know the Vikings have won seven games in a row by one goal. I know if Josh Allen hadn’t broken up, we would have had a different conversation. I know Sean McDermott fouled in the fourth quarter for not making the field goal, which would have extended Buffalo’s lead to 13 points. But the Vikings ran the ball with authority as Dalvin Cook rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown with just 14 carries (8.5 yards per pop). They made clutch plays on defense and grabbed four takeaways, including two game-changing picks from Patrick Peterson. Jefferson did Jefferson stuff and Cousins delivered the track at a huge point.
These Vikings, who already have a five-game lead over the rest of the NFC North in the loss column, are legit. Deal with it.