Vikings vs. Giants: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Minnesota
Technically the Minnesota Vikings are not the worse team in the NFL, but after Monday night's performance they are certainly very close. The New York Giants and their 31st-ranked scoring defense handily shutdown the Vikings and Josh Freeman in his Minnesota debut.
Even the team's only player to score, Marcus Sherels, had a hand in giving this one away to the Giants.
It sounds almost comical to say, but the Vikings wasted their best defensive effort of the season. They held Eli Manning, and the 27th-ranked scoring offense to only 23 points—a full touchdown less than the defense has averaged. It was the fewest points allowed by the defense this season.
It just seems that Minnesota cannot put things together on both sides of the ball in the same game.
After the performance against the Giants, and a pretty tough schedule remaining, it's likely that the Vikings will not win another game this season.
Here are the Viking roster grades for the Giants game. If things keep going this way I'll have to come up with some kind of a curve to ensure they graduate—of course that might be how some these players were graded out by the Vikings staff.
Freeman's performance in his Vikings debut was so bad that I actually was yearning for the days of Donovan McNabb.
Freeman finished 20-of-53 passing for 190 yards and an interception—a lowly 40.6 passer rating.
Compare that to McNabb, who was 7-of-15 passing for 39 yards in his Minnesota debut. At least McNabb minimized his impact by throwing only 15 passes. And he passed for a touchdown. His rating was an unimpressive 47.9 in Week 1 of the 2011 season.
There will be plenty of excuses about how Freeman didn't have time to learn the offense, but that does not explain how he consistently overthrew his receivers—often by a wide margin. One of his assets, his strong arm, was too strong, and it cost the Vikings.
His longest pass play in the game was a completion to Adrian Peterson, who gained all 22 yards after the catch.
There may be some legitimacy as to why Tampa Bay was willing to release Freeman after no team was interested in acquiring the fifth-year veteran in a trade.
Sure, this was a simplified game plan, but Freeman simply did not execute.
He took a team that was averaging nearly 28 points per game and led the offense to zero points.
Adrian Peterson: F
After gaining only 28 yards on 13 carries against the Giants, Peterson is on pace to finish with 1,363 yards this season. That's not bad for an average running back, but this is the reigning MVP coming off a 2,000-yard season.
He set a goal to rush for 2,500 yards in 2013; that's 403 yards more than he finished with in 2012. At his current pace he will wind up with 734 fewer yards than last season.
Toby Gerhart: F
In mainly mop-up duty, Gerhart finished the game with zero rushes, though he did catch two passes for 17 yards.
Yes, some of the fault needs to fall on the offensive line and the play-calling, but the best players find a way to overcome.
Jennings was targeted a team-high 10 times against the Giants but caught only four passes for 41 yards.
Jerome Simpson: D-
Simpson finished with three catches for 32 yards, the longest for only 18. He has not developed into the downfield threat the Vikings need.
Cordarrelle Patterson: D+
This was the best game of the season for Patterson—he caught three passes for 22 yards. The Vikings really need to find a way to utilize his talent on offense. He's looked very good on kickoffs, averaging 36.5 yards.
Jarius Wright: F
Another player whose versatility is supposed to provide some spark to this offense, Wright finished with one catch for only five yards. He was targeted five times in the game, most of them on deep routes that Josh Freeman continually overthrew.
Joe Webb: Incomplete
Only one pass was thrown his way.
Overall grade: D
The group combined to catch 11 passes for 85 yards. That's the production for one of Green Bay's wide receivers.
Kyle Rudolph: F
Rudolph was targeted nine times, but caught only three passes for 27 yards. Last season he led the Vikings with nine touchdowns—so far this season he has two, and unfortunately, that leads the team.
John Carlson: F
Carlson's stint with the Vikings has been one underwhelming performance after another. Against the Giants he caught one pass for nine yards.
Overall Grade: F
Like the wide receivers, most of the fault cannot be placed on the tight ends. But this is a results driven league, and the tight ends did not deliver on Monday.
Pass Protection: D+
The New York Giants sacked quarterback Josh Freeman only once, but he was under constant pressure and was hit 13 times. Some of Freeman's struggles came because of the beating he took.
Run Blocking: F
The best running back in the NFL averages 2.2 yards per carry—something is very, very wrong.
The most disturbing fact is that this is the exact same five guys who started all 16 games last season.
Jared Allen: C
Allen had one of the most impressive sacks ever when he pushed left tackle Will Beatty into Eli Manning and then reached around the tackle to grab the Giants quarterback. Allen also led the Vikings with four quarterback hits.
Kevin Williams: C
Williams finished with three tackles and one quarterback hit and shared a sack with Erin Henderson. He also deflected one of Manning's passes. He helped limit the Giants to only 64 net rushing yards on 32 carries, but that's only three yards short of their season average.
Letroy Guion: C-
Guion finished with three tackles and no quarterback hits.
Brian Robison: C
Robison had six tackles in the game. He did not record any sacks or quarterback hits, but he did knock down two of Manning's passes.
Everson Griffen: D
Perhaps I'm expecting too much from Griffen. He has yet to make his presence felt in a game. He finished with two tackles against New York. Perhaps he will shine when he gets the chance to be a full-time starter somewhere.
Sharrif Floyd: F
Floyd did not make the stat sheet, at least on defense. He did have a fumble on a kickoff return that resulted in a New York field goal.
Fred Evans: C-
Evans finished with three tackles and a pass deflection in the game.
Overall Grade: C-
This was best game of the season for the defensive line as a unit. But they finished with only two sacks.
Chad Greenway: C-
Greenway finished with another double-digit effort in tackles with 10, but there wasn't a signature play that changed the momentum of the game.
Erin Henderson: C
Henderson led the defense with 14 tackles, three of them for a loss. He also recorded a half-sack and had a quarterback hit.
Marvin Mitchell: D
Mitchell finished with six tackles in the game, and I swore he celebrated like every one of them resulted in a win for the Vikings.
Michael Mauti: Incomplete
With the loss of Desmond Bishop for the season, Mauti saw his most action of the year on defense. He finished with two tackles. We need to see more from this rookie to fully appreciate what he can do.
Overall Grade: C-
A solid effort, helping to hold the Giants to only 257 net yards—but this is a terrible Giants team.
Chris Cook: F
Cook yielded another touchdown against the Giants when Eli Manning hit Hakeem Hicks on a 24-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He also failed to wrap Peyton Hillis on a running play that resulted in a Giants down. He finished with only two tackles in the game.
Xavier Rhodes: C
Rhodes was helped by some dropped passes by Giants receivers. He did break up one pass and finished with four tackles. If he is the future for the Vikings, then he needs to start playing like it.
Josh Robinson: C
Robinson continues to get special attention from opposing quarterbacks. Against the Giants he finished with six tackles and two passes defensed. He did not yield a touchdown pass in the game.
Marcus Sherels: D-
The sure-handed Sherels dropped a certain pick-six from Manning on a 3rd-and-10 in the third quarter. At the time the Giants were leading 10-7. If he scores the touchdown, the Vikings are leading 14-10, and maybe the game turns around for them.
Overall Grade: D
The Vikings needed a big play from their cornerbacks to win this game, and it didn't happen—again. The unit is still without an interception for the entire season.
Jamarca Sanford: C
Sanford finished the game with 12 tackles, but he didn't come up with any big plays to shift the momentum.
Andrew Sendejo: C-
Sharing time with Mistral Raymond, Sendejo finished with six tackles. He also should have had an interception in the game when he failed to hang onto one of Eli Manning's errant passes.
Mistral Raymond: D+
Raymond saw some playing time because of the injury to Harrison Smith, finished with two tackles.
Robert Blanton: D
Finished with one tackle in the game.
Overall grade: C-
The loss of Harrison Smith really hurt the entire defense this week.
Blair Walsh: C-
It's no surprise that Walsh would finally miss a long field goal. He's suffering from a hamstring injury to his left leg, which also affects his ability to kickoff. With an ineffective Walsh, the Vikings decided to punt with the football on the Giants' 35-yard line.
Jeff Locke: B
Locke got plenty of practice on Monday night. He finished with seven punts for an average of 44.6 yards. He had a long of 56 yards, with two punts inside the 20-yard line. When the Vikings decided to punt the ball from the Giants' 35-yard line, Locke's punt resulted in a touchback.
Cordarrelle Patterson: B
The Giants did a very good job of limiting Patterson's effectiveness on kickoffs. When he finally got the chance, he returned one 69 yards to the Giants' 40-yard line. The play followed the Giants touchdown off of Marcus Sherels fumble deep in Vikings territory. At the time there was more than eight minutes left in the third quarter, and the Vikings were only trailing 17-7.
Marcus Sherels: C-
This was a great game and a terrible game for Sherels. He scored the Vikings' only touchdown on an 86-yard return in the first quarter.
Later in the fourth quarter, he fumbled away a punt that gave the Giants the ball on the 3-yard line. Giants' running back Peyton Hillis would score a touchdown two plays later.
Overall grade: C
The bad outweighs the good here, as the missed field, fumbled punt return and the decision to punt from the New York 35-yard cost the Vikings as many as 13 points.