How did the Minnesota Vikings rookies perform when the team shocked the world and beat the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round of the playoffs?
The Minnesota Vikings live to fight another day as they got the big upset win on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2019 playoffs.
The Vikings easily played their most complete game of the season. They were solid on defense and able to move the ball down the field when they needed to on offense. Minnesota, once again, had many rookies contribute to the victory.
Let’s check out of how they did and figure out who deserved to take home this week’s Vikings Rookie of the Week Award.
Defensively, Minnesota didn’t have a rookie register a stat. Rookie corner Kris Boyd saw some action on special teams, but he didn’t get much of a sniff on defense. So we’ll move to the offensive side of the football.
Irv Smith Jr. and Alexander Hollins both saw action on Sunday, but neither could register any stats. Smith didn’t even get a target and Hollins was unable to haul in a pass late in the game that would’ve put the Vikings in field goal range. It would’ve been an amazing grab and the kid got close to bringing it in, but the Saints defensive back made a great play on the ball.
Bisi Johnson got his usual three targets and he was able to haul in two of them for 17 yards. A few of those were tough grabs in traffic and he helped keep drives going. Johnson continues to be a vital part of Minnesota’s offense even if his role is relatively small.
Alexander Mattison was back in action this week after missing the last couple of games with an ankle injury. Mattison appeared to be 100 percent healthy as he ran the ball very effectively against New Orleans and he even did another leap which is beginning to become his signature move.
He ended up with 20 rushing yards on five carries and he caught one pass that went for 10 yards. Having a healthy Mattison and Dalvin Cook back in the lineup was a huge boost to the Vikings offense as they relied heavily on the ground game and they were able to wear down the Saints defense.
Vikings Rookie of the Week
That brings us to the Vikings Rookie of the Week and it goes to their Minnesota’s 2019 first-round pick, Garrett Bradbury.
Bradbury played leaps and bounds better than he did against the Green Bay Packers back in Week 16. He helped open holes for Cook in the running game and he also gave Kirk Cousins plenty of time in the pocket. The only time Cousins was sacked was when the Vikings receivers were blanketed and he had nowhere to go with the football.
Bradbury was able to get downfield on screens and make key blocks that helped Cook and Mattison pick up extra yardage. That’s something he’s done well all season long.
Bradbury also handled the big spot well. He wasn’t flustered by the pressure of playing in a playoff game and handled the crowd noise of the Superdome like a seasoned veteran. It was a great job by Bradbury and it was especially satisfying to see him bounce back so strongly after his poor performance against the Packers.