MIN-ATL Grades: Peterson, defense deliver for Vikings
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Vikings’ 20-10 win over the Falcons.
– There was no denying who the star of the show was. Adrian Peterson ran like a man possessed as he was simply too fast, too strong and too good for the Falcons’ run defense. He averaged a healthy 5.4 yards per carry and forced Falcons defenders to miss seven tackles in an effort that was the deciding factor between the two teams.
– It’s been a fantastic year so far for 2014 first-rounder Anthony Barr and that shows no sign of changing. He made the big plays in this game, with his two forced fumble a nice bookend for the Vikings defensive dominance. His first was a tremendous hustle play, while his second was a quick-as-a-hiccup blitz that effectively ended the game.
– There will be other games for Teddy Bridgewater to showcase his skills, with this game not his best effort of the year. He refused to challenge the Falcons deep with just three passing attempts over 10 yards in the air, instead preferring to take the short stuff which meant that while he threw for 174 yards, 163 of those yards came after the catch.
LT Matt Kalil (+4.3)
SLB Anthony Barr (+3.7)
HB Adrian Peterson (+3.4)
C Joe Berger (+2.3)
DT Linval Joseph (+2.1)
– Matt Ryan’s problems with ball security are really hampering the Falcons right now. He threw two more interceptions and both were easily avoidable. It’s not that Ryan is playing badly, but when he makes mistakes they take the Falcons out of scoring position. He’s played better this year than his numbers would suggest, but sometimes it’s not how many mistakes you make, but when you make them that is important.
– His grade remains in the negative, but there was more to be encouraged about with Tevin Coleman. His fumble (which resembled one from earlier in the year) highlights a player who needs to take better of the ball, and the drops really emphasized how much they miss the receiving ability of Devonta Freeman. But his running was far more aggressive and decisive than it has been in previous weeks. The return of Freeman will likely see him spend more time on the sidelines, but he did take a step forward this week.
– No player highlighted the Falcons defensive struggles this week as much as Paul Worrilow. The middle linebacker missed an absurd five tackles as he was no physical match for Peterson. It serves to show what has been a tough year in a scheme that can ask a lot out of linebackers, and while Worrilow has flashed some solid play at times, he’s too often failed to make the plays needed out of him.
DE Kroy Biermann (+3.7)
DT Grady Jarrett (+2.9)
DE Vic Beasley (+2.3)
RT Ryan Schraeder (+2.3)
FS Ricardo Allen (+2.0)