MIN-OAK Grades: Peterson, strong defense propel Vikings

The top takeaways and highest graded players from the Vikings’ 30-14 win over the Raiders.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar)

MIN-OAK Grades: Peterson, strong defense propel Vikings

Here are the top takeaways and highest graded players from the Vikings’ 30-14 win over the Raiders:

Minnesota Vikings:

– QB Teddy Bridgewater (+1.1) isn’t going to shake the game-manager label with performances like this one, but that’s not a problem for the Vikings – if careful helps get them wins, then careful is good enough. Bridgewater attempted two passes downfield (over 10 yards) and didn’t complete either, he threw the ball away five more times (he leads the league in that category), and for the fifth time this season he finished with less than 200 yards passing. All five of those games have been Minnesota wins.

– Giving up just three catches and 21 yards on 10 targets is a day to be proud of but when you add in a pair of interceptions and three other break-ups like Terence Newman (+7.3) did, you have a day that could rank among the career highlights for any corner. The 37-year-old vet was actually close to a three-pick effort but for the one that got away – a great break on the ball to undercut Marcel Reece at 11:13 of the third quarter left Newman with a PD, but just short of another INT.

– Coming down from his monstrous +11.4 last week, DT Linval Joseph still managed his fourth-best game grade of the season and his eighth straight in the green. A clean-up sack and five defensive stops top his sheet but he also forced Mychal Rivera to fumble after a short catch and picked up seven other wins against Raider linemen Gabe Jackson and Tony Bergstrom. After jumping up just in time to grab a spot on our midseason All-Pro Team, Joseph looks poised to maintain his grip.

Top performers:

CB Terence Newman (+7.3)
C Joe Berger (+5.3)
DT Linval Joseph (+4.1)
HB Adrian Peterson (+3.8)
G Brandon Fusco (+2.5)

Oakland Raiders

– One of the season’s darlings, QB Derek Carr (-0.3) fell off a bit this week. Despite leading a first-half surge that saw the Raiders take a momentary 14-13 lead on his two TD passes, Carr forced a few balls into bad spots and came away a bit lucky having only a pair of his throws intercepted and a grade right at the average mark. He again performed well against the blitz (six of eight for 85 yards and a touchdown) and hit on two more deep shots (he’s now 13 of 33 on those) so all is not lost with him falling away from his six-game string of positive game grades.

– Oakland’s defense gave up an average of 83 rushing yards per game over the first seven games of the season, but has now been gashed for more than 450 in the last two outings. A large part of the reason for this week’s struggle in that area was inside linebacker Malcolm Smith (-5.7) being too easily and too often erased by Minnesota blockers. Smith was moved aside or swallowed up on run plays on 14 separate occasions – simply too much for the defense’s leading snap-getter to absorb.

– RT Austin Howard (+4.9) spent his first season with the Raiders as a guard and showed signs of settling into the new position in the second half of the year. This season’s switch back to tackle didn’t get off to a great start but he may be hitting stride for another late-season run. Howard has surrendered just a pair of hurries in 93 pass-blocking snaps these last two weeks and just four total pressures over the last four games. He has graded positively both in pass pro and in run blocking on his way to an overall grade of +7.1 in Weeks 9 and 10 after a sum of -2.8 through the first eight weeks.

Top performers:

RT Austin Howard (+4.9)
DE Mario Edwards (+2.6)
OLB Aldon Smith (+2.4)
LT Donald Penn (+2.3)
RG J’Marcus Webb (+2.3)

  • Alfredo Cota

    How is Penn graded + 2.3? He allowed pressure after pressure against Everson Griffen!

    • codered5

      The pressure is saw was with a tight end matched up on griffin with he destroyed immediately

  • Luke Thompson

    I’m not entirely sure how to feel about Teddy. It’s always strange when you have a team that can win without a stellar QB performance each week (IE: Russell Wilson). I think the biggest thing is when the game is actually on their shoulders, how do they react? We saw against Chicago that Teddy can mount a comeback and he has been very good at scoring in the fourth to give the Vikings leads late. His stats are almost always pedestrian but he’s winning so it’s hard to know how good he is. His running has been a huge plus for this team over the course of the year, especially in the redzone and on third downs, which I think the media has overlooked somewhat to point at his low yardage totals. Also, he almost never throws late in games as we are trying to ice the clock to win. Guys like Bortles and Carr have to fling the ball late to try and get scores to win. Heck, about 50 or so yards of Carr’s was in complete garbage time at the end of the game.

    • Steven Macks

      More than 50 yards came in garbage time. Carr had 129 yards on the last two drives.

      I think Teddy is getting unfairly dinged (in popular opinion, perhaps not in PFF grade) for not forcing risky throws when his team has the lead. That’s good tactical football. Teams can throw games away by being too aggressive when they don’t need to be. It’s not like we were seeing receivers running uncovered. I haven’t looked at the All-22 yet, but it seemed to me Teddy was playing smart yesterday.

      • Luke Thompson

        I agree. Popular media (ESPN) is all about the big play. Bridgewater simply doesn’t need to make big plays very often. I think it’s telling that in each of the last two games, the Vikings offense started balanced, got out to a 13-0 lead, then went conservative to avoid making mistakes that would lose the game. When the Vikings need to, it seems like Teddy is very good at marching down the field. He just hasn’t needed to much this year. Very smart player that is sometimes hard to rank.

        • Izach

          Think you all are missing the point TB is only effective when they can get AP rolling and defenses have 8-9 in the box. TB IMO get MORE credit than he deserves that’s not saying he’s bad just that he only has to be average for the Vikings to win and he has been, too many teams try too hard to find “ELITE QB” and don’t realize that game managers are just as good when the team is already good, NOW that said let’s not get over board on praise just yet vikes haven’t had the toughest schedule Thus far

          • Antileftist

            AP’s feast or famine performance proves you are wrong about Teddy only being effective when he is rolling. AP leads the league in runs for loss, so he isn’t “rolling” as you put it. TB’s best game was against the Broncos and AP wasn’t rolling. TB beat the Lions in the 2nd game and AP was definitely not rolling. AP’s had a couple games where he was consistent and that is it. And TB getting more cred that he deserves? From who? Certainly not his own fans some of who still stupidly compare him to Ponder. PFF gives him love and they explain why. Dispute them with facts instead of your uninformed opinion. And 3 of the teams we’ve beaten would have winning records if we hadn’t beaten them. You don’t know wtf you are talking about.

          • Izach

            AP has been the key for vikes, I’m not saying him running well but the threat of him doing exactly what he did vs raiders keeps teams from playing too deep it keeps them closer and more aware of him even if his lost yardage plays happen more often than the next guy it’s most likely due to extra attention. And Detroit twice, bears, SF, chargers, Rams are not good teams, GB twice Cards, Hawks, Falcons will be a much better test than what you have faced IMO. TB has done nothing but game manage but that’s a good thing like I said a +1.1 score is not PFF showing him love it’s them basically agreeing with me, he’s giving average performances but playing it safe (a good thing). I don’t know why you think TB is this player deserving of massive praise he’s been decent and consistent but not amazingly other worldly like many ppl seem to have thought he would be. I think this year has basically been a best case senario for the Vikes AP leads the league in rushing and attempts defense has been really good and TB doesn’t make many mistakes, that’s all. And it’s a good formula.

          • Izach

            I mean TB is good on short throws, decent intermediate and needs good opportunities to throw deep (like playactions and clever play design) but that’s not a bad thing, but he isn’t the “catalyst” to the vikes success he’s more of a gear in a clock. He doesn’t have to be Cam, bortels, Carr or Eli and Big Ben, he can be himself till he’s capable of handling more and that’s a good thing.

          • Robert Meizo

            I live in Denver and after the Broncos game (which they would have won if the horrible hold by the TE was called that sprung Hillman for 72) the sports radio hosts out here could not stop talking about how TB is the real deal and how he single handedly kept them in the game and how great he looked the whole game. This offense is not geared for the QB to put up big numbers so TB doesn’t.

          • Izach

            Numbers don’t matter as much as actual game play, Teddy has been ok overall, He did look good in that game, not great but good he hasn’t been otherworldly like the hype was, I think most fan realize this.

    • JudoPrince

      A QB is only going to be as good as the system around him. This is an offense that is based heavily off the traditional run threat and play action. They don’t spread receivers around, don’t take shots down the field often and do not possess a TE or WR who can impose significant mismatch opportunities. When throwing off play action, Teddy consistently opts for the safer throws after looking off downfield progressions. When you have a really good defense and strong running game, this is what the coaches want. But Teddy does have a few games under his belt where he has been asked to take over an offense, like the Chicago and Detroit games, and he excelled. I like my chances with him in any situation.

      • Tito Puente

        Teddy has done excellent with the tools he has, he’s very smart, and has managed the game well.

        But any team with a running game this good should be killing people with the occasional deep throw — and that’s a throw that Teddy simply can’t make.

        The Vikings have several speed burners that can get behind people — Charles Johnson, Patterson, Diggs and Mike Wallace — but they simply don’t have a quarterback with enough arm to make those throws.

        It’s not like they can’t win with Teddy, but life would be so much easier for Adrian Peterson if they backed up the safeties with some deep shots. And you’re not taking full advantage of teams keeping all those people in the box for AD when you never go over the top.

        • Antileftist

          well he’s OVERTHROWING the deep ball. How is his arm not strong enough? The fact is, he is too afraid of a turnover so he doesn’t put the ball up where his guy has to go get it. He misses long on those plays, not short, because it has been drilled into his head not to turn the ball over. So he puts it where only his guy has a chance to catch the ball, even if that chance isn’t as good as it should be. Once he completes a couple more of those, and his WR’s quit dropping the ones he does place well, then you will see it happen with more frequency.
          Now, if you want to talk about a deep out pattern then maybe I’d be more inclined to agree that he doesn’t throw with enough VELOCITY to consistently make that throw. And that has as much to do with him not being comfortable throwing into tight windows yet. His ability to anticipate will get better and as he grows his man muscles, his arm will get better but he’s never going to be Brett Farve.

  • Mark_Htown

    Teddy led them into scoring position on 67% (6 of 9) of the Vikings possessions. I did not include the AP 80 yard run or the special teams TD. I did not count the number of throw a ways he had but one the articles says he leads the NFL in this category. He also ran a few times and made quick decisions to pick up extra yards (flip to Matt that should have been a 1st down). These things are small but play an important roll in keeping drives alive. I also have full trust if the Raiders had pulled ahead like the Lions did you would have seen a much larger state line from TB. He had approximately half the attempts of Carr and if not for a dropped pass would have had the same number of TD passes. The line will continue to be a problem for this team but I think you can see the future is bright.

    • Antileftist

      line is getting better the last 2 weeks. Starting to jell.