MIN-JAX grades: Bradford, defense lift Vikings to win

The top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Vikings' win over the Jaguars.

| 7 months ago
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

MIN-JAX grades: Bradford, defense lift Vikings to win

Minnesota Vikings 25, Jacksonville Jaguars 16

Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Vikings’ 25-16 win over the Jaguars.

Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback grade: Sam Bradford, 79.7

Bradford leads Vikings to a road win

Despite a non-existent rushing attack, Minnesota QB Sam Bradford led scoring drives on three of the team’s four second-half drives to secure a road victory. Jacksonville sent extra pass-rushers at Bradford on 16 of his 36 dropbacks, and Bradford made them pay the price, finishing 12 of 15 for 138 yards, a touchdown and a 127.2 QB rating on those plays. The Vikings have one of the most conservative passing offenses in the NFL, but the game plan in Jacksonville called for more deep passes, and Bradford was productive (three of four for 130 yards on passes thrown 20+ yards). WR Adam Thielen’s continued his breakout season, catching four of his five targets for 101 yards. Thielen is currently ranked 15th among all NFL wide receivers in overall grade for the 2016 season, giving the Vikings an excellent complement to WR Stefon Diggs.

Top offensive grades:

QB Sam Bradford, 79.7
LG Alex Boone, 78.5
TE Kyle Rudolph, 78.0
WR Adam Thielen, 77.6
HB Jerick McKinnon, 68.9 

Injuries continue to add up for Vikings 

Minnesota’s offensive line has been hit hard by injuries during the 2016 season, and the attrition has taken its toll on the Vikings’ offense. The Vikings’ offensive line suffered another blow against the Jaguars, as starting RG Brandon Fusco left the game due to injury. Minnesota could not get anything going with their running game, totaling just 84 yards on 30 carries for a 2.8 YPC average. The offensive line did not give running backs Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon any room to work with, as they combined for 67 rushing yards, 54 of which came after contact. The Vikings line did show improvement in pass protection however, allowing zero sacks and just one QB hit as a unit. 

Top defensive grades:

DE Everson Griffin, 84.0
DT Linval Joseph, 78.8
LB Eric Kendricks, 78.5
CB Trae Waynes, 78.1
CB Terence Newman, 77.3

Minnesota’s defense dominates Jaguars rushing attack

Jacksonville’s offensive line had their hands full with the Vikings defensive line, especially in the run game. DE Danelle Hunter led the team with a 90.9 run defense grade, and defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Shamar Stephen were stout inside throughout the game. Joseph also sealed the victory with a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter. DE Everson Griffin totaled two sacks, four hurries and a batted pass, earning a game-best 84.0 overall grade.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback Grade: Blake Bortles, 50.7

Bortles continues to struggle with accuracy

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has been one of the least-accurate quarterbacks in the NFL since he entered the league, and ranks 26th of 30 qualifying NFL quarterbacks with a 69.7 adjusted completion percentage (adjusted for dropped passes, batted passes, spikes, etc.). Minnesota sent extra pass-rushers at Bortles on just 11 of his 43 dropbacks, confident that he would not be able to consistently move the ball down the field with accurate passing. WR Marqise Lee was Bortles’ top target, finishing with five catches for 113 yards. Lee has earned above-average grades in three of his past four games, and leads all Jacksonville receivers in overall 2016 grade.

Top offensive grades:

WR Marqise Lee, 82.6
RT Jermey Parnell, 74.1
RG Tyler Shatley, 73.4
WR Bryan Walters, 70.6
TE Ben Koyack, 70.4

Jacksonville rushing offense ineffective

The Jaguars rank 28th in team run-blocking grade this season, and their offensive line was overmatched against a stout Vikings front seven. Guards Chris Reed and A.J. Cann, and tackle Kelvin Beachum all earned below-average run blocking grades, and HB T.J. Yeldon forced just one missed tackle on his 17 carries. Reed and Tyler Shatley were both perfect in pass protection however, and RT Jermey Parnell also earned an above-average pass blocking grade.

Top defensive grades:

DE Yannick Ngakoue, 82.2
LB Paul Posluszny, 82.0
DT Malik Jackson, 81.7
LB Hayes Pullard, 80.0
CB Jalen Ramsey, 78.0 

Jaguars struggle in pass coverage

Jacksonville was also excellent in run defense, with five players earning above-average grades. DL Tyson Alualu led the way with four run stops, and SS John Cyprien led the team with a 90.2 run defense grade. DE Yannick Ngakoue and DT Malik Jackson each recorded two hurries and a QB hit, but the Jaguars were unable to sack Sam Bradford and the team struggled in coverage. LB Telvin Smith missed three tackles, and finished with a game-worst 25.0 pass coverage grade. FS Tashaun Gipson was not much better, allowing completions on both of his targets for 56 yards, including a 45-yarder to Stefon Diggs.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Vikings DE Everson Griffin

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

  • Charles Foreman

    As someone who doesn’t get to see many Vikings games, I’m wondering what has happened to Anthony Barr this season. He seemed like he was a young LB on the rise and was heavily touted by PFF last year.

    • Antileftist

      Charles, I’ve been wondering the exact same thing this season. I’ve had fellow commenters speculate that unspecified injuries are a factor, but no one has been able to give me any definitive answer. I’ve requested that local sports journalists write a story on it but so far no one has. It’s like he has fallen off the face of the earth insofar as being a difference maker this year.

      • ted

        this has primarily been down to Zimmer lining him up in coverage. He has very rarely been asked to blitz, nowhere near as much as Kendricks. which is odd, as that is Barr’s main strength