The Minnesota Vikings handily beat the Green Bay Packers 23-7 on Sunday afternoon in the Fox primetime slot.
With that win, the Vikings saw a lot of players see their stocks rise or fall. Let’s break them down in this week’s stock watch.
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Wide Receiver Justin Jefferson: Arguably the best wide receiver in the National Football League, Jefferson torched the Packers for nine receptions, 184 yards and two touchdowns getting open at will. His league-leading PFF grade of 91.1 is reflective of that.
Kirk Cousins: While his game wasn’t perfect, Cousins showed a different level of confidence about him in running the new Kevin O’Connell offense. He was calculated in his decision making, didn’t put the ball in harms way and found open receivers consistently.
Outside Linebacker Za’Darius Smith: After dealing with injuries each of the past two seasons, Smith came out like a wrecking ball against his former team. Lining up all over the defensive line, he was a force garnering one sack and two pressures. The best play of the game came where Aaron Rodgers tried to block him and it didn’t go as planed.
Left Tackle Christian Darrisaw: After receiving praise and comparisons to Trent Williams during joint practices with the 49ers, Darrisaw had a really solid day. He showed really good power, technique and hand usage in protecting Cousins’ blindside. Darrisaw needs to work on not undersetting which allowed Gary to gain the edge but the early returns in year two are very promising.
Safety Harrison Smith: After signing a contract extension this offseason, Smith showed that he is still one of the best in the league. He was all over the field on Sunday, including intercepting a pass that ended a potential touchdown drive for the Packers before the half. Even though he is now 32 years old, Smith is still one of the best in the league.
Defensive Lineman Dalvin Tomlinson: This scheme is perfect for Tomlinson. He gets to line up as a 4i or 5T during rushing downs and slide to the inside as a pass rusher. He was dominant on the day including recovering the Rodgers fumble.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson: Even though he is still a servicable player at his age and experience level, Peterson getting thoroughly cooked on the first play of the season by rookie Christian Watson raised a major cause for concern moving forward.
Guard Ed Ingram: This is a complicated one, as Ingram was overall good but he showed some deficiencies in pass protection. Per PFF, in 15 true pass sets, he graded out at an abysmal 2.6. A true mover in the running game, Ingram needs to improve in pass protection but the talent and physical ability is there.
Wide Receiver K.J. Osborn: How much of his nearly invisible performance was due to Jefferson is up for debate but Osborn was almost non-existent on Sunday in catching three passes for 14 yards. With Jefferson likely to be a heavy priority moving forward for defenses, Osborn will be counted on to step up.