Top Minnesota Vikings Rookies: Week 8 vs. the Washington Redskins

(John Autey / MediaNews Group / St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images) Alexander Mattison
(John Autey / MediaNews Group / St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images) Alexander Mattison /

The Minnesota Vikings grounded out a surprisingly tough win against the one-win Washington Redskins. How did the Vikings rookies fare in this game?

On Thursday night, the Minnesota Vikings got all they could handle from the now 1-7 Washington Redskins. The Vikings eventually came out on top with a 19-9 victory in a game that was much closer than many anticipated.

Minnesota’s rookies were a little quieter against the Redskins than they have been in recent weeks, but they still contributed plenty to the win.

For the second week in a row, there wasn’t a sniff of a stat on defense when it came to the Vikings’ rookies. So offensively is where we will focus.

As usual, we will start with the big first-round center, Garrett Bradbury. Minnesota’s offensive line did well against the Redskins. Kirk Cousins had plenty of time in the pocket and he was able to find his receivers down the field. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison combined for 159 yards on the ground and that was because the Vikings’ line was able to open up holes against Washington’s big, beefy defenders.

Bradbury was a big part of the success of the offensive line on Thursday and he held his own in both pass protection and in the running game. He has been on a hot streak lately and that continued in Week 8.

Bisi Johnson got the start for the injured Adam Thielen against the Redskins. He didn’t get a ton of targets and hauled in just two passes for 27 yards. It was a little disappointing that Johnson didn’t have a bigger role with a nationwide audience watching him, but he did haul in the balls that went his way like he’s done all season long.

Thielen is likely to return in Week 9 when the Vikings face the Kansas City Chiefs, so Johnson will be relegated back to his No. 3 receiver status.

Irv Smith Jr. was another Minnesota rookie pass-catcher who was expected to benefit from Thielen being out of the lineup on Thursday. Smith was shut out in the first half as passes weren’t being thrown his way.

Things picked up for Smith in the second half and he hauled in three Cousins passes for 21 yards. It was a little surprising that he wasn’t more active in the gameplan, but the Vikings went heavy with the run and elected to not throw the ball for the majority of the second half.

Top Vikings Rookie of Week 8

So that brings us to Minnesota’s Rookie of the Week and once again, it is running back Alexander Mattison.

Mattison rushed the ball 13 times for 61 yards against Washington. He also had some beautiful runs that were called back due to holding calls on Pat Elflein, including one where he broke about four tackles and spun his way to a big gain.

This kid is special with his combination of speed, vision, and power. He’s a great compliment to Dalvin Cook and the best part about his game on Thursday was that he protected the football late in the matchup.

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The Vikings utilized both Cook and Mattison and they were able to milk about eight minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter, sealing the victory in primetime.