Vikings dominate Texans 31-13, remain undefeated

Another week, another player goes down.  Another week, another player steps up.  Another week, another Vikings win.  This season has been very consistent for the Vikings as far as having to overcome obstacles.  Mike Zimmer has proved it time and time again, he has assembled a roster that is ready when their number is called.  Now they are the final undefeated team and is everyone's toughest opponent.  Here are some observations from the game on Sunday.

Injuries open up opportunities: No Stefon Diggs meant that every one on the depth chart had a new role Sunday.  Adam Thielen had a career day.  Cordarrelle Patterson was a huge part of the offense, getting his first receiving touchdown since 2014.  Jarius Wright was active and caught some key passes.  All three of the receivers were role players before this week, but now they have a new identity.  They proved they are reliable and are able to step up when called up.  Every single one of them works extremely hard and it shows on and off the field.

Sam Bradford is continuing to improve: Once again, he has proved all the doubters from the Eagles trade they were wrong. Bradford has been almost flawless in his first four starts with the Vikings.  His ability to spread the ball all over the field while getting rid of it quickly has allowed the offense to get a new dynamic.  Each week he seems to pick a new offensive target to rely on.  Against the Packers it was Stefon Diggs.  Against Carolina it was Kyle Rudolph.  Against the Giants it was Diggs and Rudolph.  On Sunday it was Thielen and Patterson.  The bye week only helps him.  It gives Bradford more time to learn new aspects of the offense while continuing to gain chemistry with the receivers.

Special teams is a major threat: Besides Blair Walsh, everyone on special teams seems to love their role.  It showed on Sunday when Marcus Sherels followed his blockers for a long punt return touchdown.  When he was asked about his success he made sure to give almost all the credit to his teammates opening the door for him.  Jeff Locke has been stellar when he is called upon.  We do not punt much, but when we do we set our defense up by pinning the opposing team deep in their own territory.  Patterson has always been a great kick returner and that has not changed.

The cornerbacks are trustworthy: Over the last four weeks, the Vikings have played teams with elite receivers.  From Jordy Nelson, to Kelvin Benjamin, to O'Dell Beckham, to DeAndre Hopkins.  Besides a few passes, the cornerbacks have stymied opposing teams best targets.  This has opened up the door for more blitzes and turnovers.  Our defensive line is averaging almost four sacks a game.  It has been such a great team effort so far which has led to huge success. 

Third down defense is key: Getting off the field with a third down stop is such a big aspect to football.  If a defense cannot stop the opposing offense then it just extends the drive.  Then that leads to a tired team.  So far this season, we have done a great job of putting the breaks on offensive drives and getting off the field.  This Sunday, the Texans got their first first-down late in the game due to a penalty.  If we can clean up the amount of penalties then we will be even more lethal.  I expect Mike Zimmer to address that over the bye week.

Even without our starting quarterback, running back, wide receiver, left offensive tackle, and right offensive tackle, Norv Turner is finding ways to make things happen.  Every week there seems to be a new player that Turner decides is going to produce.  The bye week is coming at a perfect time for a team that needs to get healthier.  Hopefully they continue to strive under any circumstances.  #SkolVikings