The Vikings try to keep their playoff hopes alive on Thursday Night Football

By: Abby Altman

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Close games that come down to the wire are something the Vikings know very well. It’s also something the team would be glad to see go, just for one week. The Vikings almost blew Pittsburg out of the water on Thursday, leading 23-0 at the half. Cook had 14 carries for 2 touchdowns and 153 yards in the first half alone, despite playing with a dislocated shoulder.

Jefferson began the Vikings first half scoring drive on a 14 yard touchdown, followed by a 29 yard touchdown by Dalvin Cook the next drive. With less than 3 minutes in the half, Cook stretched the lead to 23 with a 7 yard touchdown.

The Vikings defense also held Pittsburgh to just 66 yards on 26 plays, and got close to Roethlisberger countless times, recording 4 sacks.

The Vikings scored twice again in the third quarter, making the score 29-0 with just over a quarter to go. Then the old Vikings returned.

Pittsburgh’s first score of the game was on Najee Harris’s 3 yard touchdown with just over 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Less than 3 minutes later, Pittsburgh scored again after an interception thrown by Kirk Cousins.

The Vikings went 3 and out, and the Steelers quickly put up yet another unanswered touchdown, making the score 29-20.

Minnesota did not give up easily. The offense responded to the comeback with a 62 yard catch and run by KJ Osborn, giving the Vikings a 16 point lead. The Steelers countered with a 15 yard touchdown completed with a 2 pt conversion, making it a 36-28 ball game.

Down by 8, with seconds left on the clock, Rothlisburger fired to Pat Freiermuth in the end zone hoping that with the touchdown, and a 2 pt conversion, they’d be able to force OT. Vikings safety Harrison Smith was able to knock the ball out of Freiermuth’s hands on the try, alongside Xavier Woods ending that hope.

“We keep asking ourselves why we keep putting ourselves in this position”, said Cook. “That’s been us all year. Living and dying by that last drive. We’ve got to figure it out.”

The Vikings held the game 36-28, to keep their playoff hopes alive, although far in the distance. Minnesota now plays Chicago, the LA Rams, Green Bay, and Chicago again. Losing more than 1 game in this final stretch will likely put their playoff hopes to rest.

Vikings 49ers

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By: Abby Altman

The Vikings and the 49ers faced off in a game with the playoffs on the line

The Vikings and 49ers both started week 12 with matching 5-5 records, both looking to sneak their way into a wildcard spot. 

The 49ers, with the win, have now won 3 in a row, putting their early season struggles behind them, for now. The Vikings, coming off a win from the 9-3 Packers, came up short in a highly entertaining game. 

49ers defensive end Nick Bosa said, “We’re all excited to be back in the mix and have the season in our control.” 

This matchup was fast moving, with 4 touchdowns in the 1st half, and 6 scores in the 3rd quarter alone, propelled by Kene Nwangwu’s 99 yard kickoff return. This is Nwangwu’s 2nd kickoff return for a touchdown this season. 

With 18 seconds left in the first half, the 49ers ended an 87 yard drive with a touchdown pass, tying the game. The Vikings are the team with the most points allowed, in the final 2 minutes, of the first half, since 2000. The Vikings have given up 66 points in the last 2 minutes, of the first half, this season. 

Late in the 3rd quarter, the 49ers were gifted a turnover in Vikings’ territory when Dalvin Cook fumbled the ball after going down with a shoulder injury. Cook left the game and had an MRI on Monday. Coach Zimmer is not stating what exactly the MRI showed. Cook has already been playing with a torn labrum, and he is now day to day, with his next week status unknown. Anthony Barr also left the game in the 3rd quarter with a hamstring injury. 

The 49ers did just enough to come away with a win over Minnesota, with a game saving 4th down stop on the goal line in the 4th quarter. 

The Vikings played short of what we’ve seen them do earlier this season. The defense allowed 208 yards rushing on 39 carries, allowing the 49ers run game to dominate the field. “They came with it,” said Vikings linebacker Erick Kendricks. “We knew that their run game was really good. Very complex, very confusing. They have a lot of people to block and open up for it. It was about eliminating that and we didn’t do it.”

The Vikings offense had only 67 rushing yards, and 262 receiving yards, with Cousins completing 20/32 with 238 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception, ending his streak of 212 straight passes without an interception. Thielen had 2 receiving touchdowns, and Mattison rushed for 1. 

The Vikings schedule is easing up for the next 3 weeks with matchups against Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. Hopefully, 3 wins straight will help the Vikings find their way into a wildcard spot, potentially alongside San Francisco. 

Note: Since the writing of this article, the Vikings lost to the winless Lions. It is this writer’s opinion that the Vikings tend to play down to their competition, and it showed against Detroit.

Is Mike Zimmer the problem in Minnesota?

By: Abby Altman

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To put it simply, yes. The Vikings are sitting rather uncomfortably at 3-3, 6 weeks into the NFL season. The team is loaded both on offense and defense, and aside from a questionable kicker, should have no reason to not be above .500. 

Last season, the Vikings went a disappointing 7-9. Most of the blame for this record was placed on the shoulders of Kirk Cousins, which is proving itself false this season. 

Cousins has a 69% completion rate through 6 games this season, averaging 294 yards per game. His leadership has soared this year, looking more connected to everyone except his coaches. 

The Minnesota Vikings should not have 3 losses. Many key players are leading the team to impressive stats, that should be helping the team soar to potentially a 5-1 record. The wide receiver trio, Thielen, Jefferson, and Osborn, have combined for 1,200 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. On the rushing side of things, Cook and Mattison have filled in nicely for each other, with Cook having 366 yards in 4 games, and Mattison with 225 yards in the 2 games Cook did not play. 

On defense, things are looking much better than recent years. Notable stars this season have been Erik Kendricks, Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter, and Everson Griffin. These starters have a combined 89 tackles and 10 sacks. 

Mike Zimmer is a defensive coach. He’s been defensive coordinator for the Bengals, Falcons, and Cowboys in his years in the NFL. He’s been head coach for the Vikings since 2014, with a fairly decent track record. Since Mike Zimmer’s reign began back in 2014, the Vikings have gone 67-50, which puts them at .572. 

Previous seasons, including one of the most successful seasons for the Vikings in recent years, have been partially led by former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. Stefanski is currently head coach for the Cleveland Browns, who are 4-3, with the Vikings being one of their wins. Stefanski had been replaced by Gary Kubiak at OC. Kubiak left at the end of last year, and his sone Clint is now OC. This is not helping to make better play calls. He and Zimmer have been major problems, especially against Cleveland and Detroit this year. 

If you watch this season carefully, you can tell that Zimmer doesn’t know how to properly run an offense. He is far too conservative when it comes to moving the ball, which has resulted many times in bringing out the punting or kicking squad, which doesn’t end well a lot of the time, but Minnesota kickers are another story. 

Mike Zimmer doesn’t manage his team correctly, and plays too conservatively. In the NFL, you need to play to win. Zimmer is just trying not to lose. Can he put more trust in his team for these next 10 games to put his team in position to make the playoffs? That remains to be seen, but as of right now, Mike Zimmer is the problem in Minnesota. 

Sports schedule for 10/25 – 10/30

7:00pm Volleyball vs. South St. PaulHOME
7:00pm5:00pm / 8:45pmFootball vs. Harding/Humboldtat Harding High School
Girls – 3:30pm Boys – 4:15pm Boys / Girls Cross Country Sectionsat Valleywood Golf Course
7:00pm Volleyball Section SemifinalsHOME
3:00pm Football Section SemifinalsTBD

Sports schedule for: 10/18-10/22

5:30pm4:30pm / 8:45pmJV Football vs. North St. PaulPolar Field
5:30pm / 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmJV/Varsity Volleyball vs. Como Parkat Como Park High School
4:00pm Boys / Girls Cross Country Conference ChampionshipHOME
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm C-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. CentralHOME
7:00pm5:00pm / 8:45pmFootball vs. St. Croix Lutheranat St. Croix Lutheran

Minnesota Vikings bounce back against Seattle

By: Abby Altman

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The atmosphere at US Bank Stadium coming into week 3 might have been exactly what the team needed. The stands were packed with purple, and the Skol chant was seemingly louder than ever. The stadium even had fake snow coming down to represent “The Team of the North.” 

Coming into this game the Vikings were 0-2, playing against the 1-1 Seahawks. Prior to this game, the Vikings hadn’t hosted the Seahawks in Minnesota since 2016, and hadn’t beaten them since 2009. 

Kirk Cousins, once again played at an MVP caliber level, going 30/38, with 323 yards and 3 touchdowns, and played his 3rd consecutive game with no turnovers. Even without star running back Dalvin Cook, the offense was propelled by backup Alexander Mattison, who picked up 112 rushing yards and 171 total yards. The offensive line looked stronger than it has in several years. 

“It’s the best offensive performance that I’ve seen in the eight years that I’ve been here,” coach Mike Zimmer said.

The first 2 weeks this season, the Vikings receiving core was fairly quiet. Sophomore WR Justin Jefferson ended his rookie year blazing, and was a top candidate for rookie of the year. He hadn’t done much this season, but after this week’s stats, we can see Jefferson is back. Justin had 11 targets, 118 receiving yards, and a touchdown, along with an impressive catch and 28 yard run. 

Another good thing to see is sophomore WR KJ Osborn is stepping up to make the Vikings WR core a very dangerous trio. Jefferson, Thielen, and Osborn, all combined for 194 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns this week. 

The defense played just slightly above average in the first half, but shut down the Seattle offense in the second half. The Vikings allowed the Seahawks offense 389 yards, 2 touchdowns and a field goal. The defensive line was able to get to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson twice, with Everson Griffen and Eric Kendricks both bringing in a sack. 

Kicker Greg Joseph redeemed himself in this comeback after missing a game winning kick in week 2. Joseph went 6/6 with 3 field goals for 44, 33 and 20 yards, and 3 PATs. 

In a post game interview coach Mike Zimmer said he told the team “We work so hard, we prepare so hard, we deserve to win.” 

The Vikings hope to keep this streak going and improve to 2-2 next week, at home against Cleveland. 

*Note: Since the writing of this article, the Vikings have gone 1-1 in the two games they’ve played.

Sports schedule for: 10/11-10/16

5:00pm Girls Soccer vs. Two Riversat Two Rivers High School
7:00pm Boys Soccer vs. Holy Angelsat Academy of Holy Angels
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. HardingHOME
5:30pm Diving Conference Meetat Humboldt High School
6:30pm Swimming Conference Meetat St. Catherine University
7:00pm5:00pm / 8:45pmFootball vs. North St. Paulat North St. Paul High School
9:00am8:00am / 2:00pmVarsity Volleyball Tournament  Benilde-St. Margaret’sat Benilde-St. Margaret’s

Sports schedule for: 10/4-10/9

5:30pm JV Football vs. Como ParkHOME
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. Humboldtat Humboldt High School
4:15pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Comoat Como Park High School
5:00pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Girls Soccer vs. ComoHOME
7:00pm Swimming and Diving vs. Hardingat Humboldt High School
5:00pm / 5:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Minnehaha Academyat Minnehaha Academy  
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. Johnsonat Johnson High School
5:00pm Swimming and Diving vs. Centralat Humboldt High School
5:15pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Girls Soccer vs. South St. Paulat South St. Paul High School
6:00pm Football vs. Mound WestonkaHOME
10:00am7:00am / 2:00pmBoys / Girls Cross Country Alexandria Meet of Championsat Arrowhead Resort
10:00am/12:00pm JV/Varsity Girls Soccer vs. CentralHOME

False start for the Minnesota Vikings

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By: Abby Altman

With a fantastic draft, a great off season, and most injured players returning ready to work, the Vikings 2021 season was highly anticipated. 

Many Vikings fans expected a comeback from the less than average season last year, but week 1 made most fans lose hope. At halftime, the Vikings were down 7-14. That doesn’t seem bad, but fans watching knew things weren’t looking good. The offense in the first half was abysmal. They received 12 penalties for a total loss of 116 yards, including 3 false starts in the opening drive, and 4 penalties in the first 8 snaps. 

“We shot ourselves in the foot, especially in the first half, way too many times,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer stated.

 The offensive line gave up 3 sacks, and the offense scored just 1 touchdown in the first half. 

Kirk Cousins, possibly the most hated player on the Vikings in recent years, played well but was seemingly overshadowed by the loss. Cousins went for 36/49, with 351 yards, and 2 touchdowns. 

The defense was another story, and not a much better one. The Bengals offense, Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, and the rest of the offensive stars, picked up 366 total yards, and 2 touchdowns in the first half, and 1 in the second.

Erik Kendricks looked like he was ready to be back, with 15 tackles, to lead the league after 1 week. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop Cincinnati from scoring 

But for many, the main story of the game was neither team. It was the refs. 

With 10:00 left in the 4th quarter, WR Justin Jefferson caught a 20 yard pass from QB Kirk Cousins, and proceeded to run the final 20 yards to land in the end zone. The refs didn’t call the touchdown, stating that he was down before he landed in the end zone, and called third down. Further replays clearly showed an image of Jefferson hanging over the end zone, his body clearly still off the ground. The call was not overturned. 

After a horrendous first half, the Vikings managed to pull it together, and came back to tie the game with a 53 yard kick made by Greg Joseph with 3 seconds on the clock. The game went into overtime, and both defenses looked strong forcing each team to punt at least once. 

With less than 2 minutes on the clock in overtime, the Vikings were sitting roughly on the 40 yard line. Getting very close to field goal range, the Vikings called 1 more play. With a handoff to star RB Dalvin Cook, his run ended on the bottom of a pileup with a group of Cincinnati defenders. The refs called a fumble, recovered by Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt. The Vikings challenged the call, and after several minutes were spent reviewing the play, the ruling on the field stayed a fumble, allowing the Bengals to set up their game winning field goal drive. 

Online comment sections since then have been flooded with fans, some Vikings, some not, stating that “Dalvin didn’t fumble”. Many fans were outraged that the ruling on the field was not overturned. 

In a post game conference, Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen spoke out about the game and the offensive mistakes. Thielen stated that the Vikings felt “[R]eally confident coming into this game”. Obviously, that confidence was shot down by mistakes. Thielen made a comment saying that he believes this is a good team and will bounce back in week 2. From the interview on Minnesota Vikings YouTube, Thielen says, “You gotta play clean football, because that’s (penalties) what loses games”. 

Sports schedule for: 9/27-10/2

5:15pm / 7:00pm Girls JV/Varsity Soccer vs. Simleyat Simley High School
5:30pm JV Football vs. JohnsonHOME
5:30pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Volleyball vs. Como ParkHOME
4:00pm / 4:00pm JV/Varsity Tennis vs. HardingJV: HOME Varsity: at Harding High School
4:15pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. WashingtonHOME
7:00pm Varsity Girls Soccer vs. Washingtonat Washington
4:00pm Varsity Tennis vs. VisitationHOME  
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:30pm / 8:30pmC-Squad / JV / Varsity Volleyball vs. Centralat Central High School
4:15pm / 7:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. CentralHOME
7:00pm Girls Varsity Soccer vs. Centralat Central High School
TBD Tennis Twin Cities Matchat Minneapolis Site
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm C-Squad / JV / Volleyball vs. WashingtonHOME
8:00am Varsity Volleyball Invitationalat Blaine High School
1:00pm Football vs. Como ParkHOME
2:30pm / 4:00pm JV/Varsity Boys Soccer vs. SPAat St. Paul Academy