Skill Position Solace
When Case Keenum did have time to find his receivers downfield, the Vikings’ pass catchers did their best to show that their Week 1 performance wasn’t a flash in the plan.
Coming off a huge game against the Saints Adam Thielen picked up where he left as he caught 5 catches for 44 yards with the longest catch of 24. Based on his two performances so far Thielen should excel as a slot receiver and won’t have a problem getting open against the majority of NFL defenses.
After exploding last week Stefon Diggs was relatively held in check by the Steelers secondary as he was limited to 2 catches for 27 yards. He did, however, follow up his two fantastic catches last week with another in Pittsburgh. It may have only been for 14 yards but on Minnesota’s lone touchdown driver Diggs made displayed fantastic focus to haul in an over the shoulder catch down the sideline.
The best Vikings catch of the night, however, belonged to Kyle Rudolph. Facing 3rd and 20, Keenum overthrow a wide open Rudolph only for the tight end to leap into the air and snag a ridiculous one-handed catch that Odell Beckham would have been proud of. Rudolph would go on to lead the Vikings in receiving yards with 45 yards on 4 catches.
In a surprising turn of events, Laquon Treadwell turned in his best performance as a Viking catching 3 passes for 33 yards and offering a reliable option outside of the hashes. It remains to be seen if Treadwell can hold off Michael Floyd when he returns from suspension but his output on Sunday was certainly a positive.
Dalvin Cook’s carries were restricted as the Vikings were forced to play the majority of the game from behind but in his second NFL appearance, he once again impressed. Cook was forced to grind out tough yards due to limited rushing lanes for much of the game but showed all he needed was one opportunity for an explosive play. Operating out of the shotgun Cook displayed fantastic acceleration, speeding down the right-hand sideline for a 25-yard run, juking one defender as he was dragged down 1 yard short of scoring his first Minnesota touchdown.
Once Bradford returns (hopefully in time for Week 3) the Vikings offense should be back up to full speed, as long as they aren’t facing a decent pass rush.