The Vikings entered their showdown with the Falcons as the favorites and rightfully so. They were coming off a close contest with a great Seattle team whereas the Falcons had just fired their head coach and GM after starting 0-5.
That didn’t matter in Sunday’s matchup, as the Falcons completely dominated the Vikings. With a final score of 40-23, Atlanta looked like a brand new team with interim head coach Raheem Morris.
Kirk Cousins didn’t do the Vikings any favors in the loss throwing three interceptions on the day. Although he went 24 for 36 with 343 yards and three touchdowns, it wasn’t enough to overcome the mistakes he made in the first half.
Not having Dalvin Cook in the lineup clearly played a factor in the outcome as well. The offense struggled to get anything going on the ground totaling just 32 rushing yards as a team. They got down early and only ran the ball 13 times compared to throwing it 36 times.
The only bright spot of the afternoon was the performance of Justin Jefferson. He hauled in nine catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns. It’s not easy to find silver linings after getting blown out by a winless team, but Jefferson seems to be a star just six games into his career.
Jefferson has done nothing but shine when given the opportunity to play. He plays with sticky hands, great YAC ability and seems to always win the contested catches. Losing Stefon Diggs could have been a huge blow to this offense, but Jefferson has filled his shoes better than expected.
The defense let up 40 points but they were put in countless short field situations with Cousins’ turnovers. The best play made by the defense was a forced fumble by Jeff Gladney where he chased down Brian Hill and popped the ball out.
The rookie corners have had plenty of ups and downs, but both Gladney and Cameron Dantzler have shown off their physical traits over the last few weeks. It was hard for the cornerbacks to get in any sort of rhythm with no preseason, but the two rookies have improved each week.
Now sitting at 1-5 and in dead last in the NFC North, the Vikings playoff hopes are all but diminished. There’s too much talent on the roster to be sitting where they are, so there could be some changes coming sooner than expected.
It’s worth looking into the 2021 NFL Draft class now as the Vikings are looking more and more like a team that will land a top-five pick. Although there is still a lot of season left the Vikings chances at landing Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields have increased after Sunday’s loss.
The Vikings are missing some key pieces on their defense and the playmakers on offense have been fantastic through the first six games. Getting a generational talent at the quarterback position to pair with the playmakers should become a focus for the Vikings front office in 2021.
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