ReFo: Vikings @ Dolphins, Week 16

Mentioning Bridgewater, Starks, Grimes, Rhodes and others, Sam Monson shares notes and player grades from the Minnesota-Miami matchup.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Vikings @ Dolphins, Week 16

2014-REFO-WK16-MIN@MIAWith hindsight this game didn’t have a whole lot on the line.

Miami did not know it, but they were officially eliminated from playoff contention despite rescuing this game late. For the Vikings, there were many positives to take from this game, though they will be concerned by how easily their defense was shredded on occasions.

Perhaps the most important thing from their point of view is next season, and the performance of several young players they will be building around.

Minnesota Vikings – Performances of Note

Teddy Bridgewater, QB: +3.9

Breakdown: All season I have been dancing around the question of Teddy Bridgewater because I hadn’t really seen him show that he was capable of very good things. Flashes of good here and there, but never over a long enough stretch to get excited about and with few enough mistakes to make you think he was capable of big things. This was the game that showed he is. About the only thing missing from his performance was a real deep threat, but he hit several beautiful intermediate throws and looked extremely poised in the pocket, hitting his dumpoff target when pressure materialized extremely quickly a few times. This was a game to get excited about for Bridgewater/Vikings fans.

Signature: Stat: Bridgewater’s passer rating (removing the spike) was 118.6 in this game. If you take away the dropped pass from Matt Asiata that ended up as his only interception it leaps to 138.5

Xavier Rhodes, CB: -1.8

Breakdown: Cornerback is a weird position where sometimes you can actually play quite well but get a raw deal when it comes to luck and still end up looking poor. Rhodes was in good coverage pretty much all game long, but kept finding himself on the wrong end of very fine margins. Whether it be a ticky-tack defensive hold to nullify a pass break-up or a pass that he deflects only for it to fall to Mike Wallace for a score anyway.

Signature Stat: Somehow allowed a catch on all six of the balls thrown his way, with a seventh pass ending up being a defensive holding call.

Michael Harris, OT: -3.3

Breakdown: It seems weird to suggest that Michael Harris did OK, but up until that final game-defining drive he actually hadn’t done too badly, considering. With Norv Turner’s 10-yard drops in full swing and Cameron Wake being about as tough an assignment as a right tackle in the NFL has to contend with, Harris had given up comparatively little despite being on an island with Wake much of the day. Of course, he then surrendered his worst play of the day.

Signature Play: Q4, 0:51. Harris left his worst to the biggest moment in the game. On third down of a late drive the Vikings needed to try and rescue the win, Harris was just turnstyled by Wake who notched the sack to bring up a punt.

Miami Dolphins – Performances of Note

Lamar Miller, RB: +3.3

Breakdown: This is as impressed as I have been with Miller in a game. It wasn’t just a case of his athleticism, which has always been strong enough, but his vision and reading of blocks was top quality in this game. On more than one occasion he read a potential breakdown of blocking without hesitation, cutting to a bigger gap on the line and maximizing the yardage he could gain on the play.

Signature Stat: Averaged 4.8 yards per carry, only Miami chasing the game for a while kept him from a very big day.

Randy Starks, DT: +3.7

Breakdown: Randy Starks was another player who saved his best until the final, crucial Minnesota drive. He made a few big plays, both in the run and pass game, but on that final drive he generated pressure on first and second down, killing any rhythm the Vikings’ passing game needed to take some yardage back on the drive.

Signature Stat: Generated five total pressures from 24 pass-rushing plays.

Brent Grimes, CB: -2.9

Breakdown: Brent Grimes is a fine corner, but this was not his finest hour (or three). He was thrown at seven times, allowing six catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Both Greg Jennings and Jarius Wright beat him badly for scores and Cordarrelle Patterson turned him inside out on a deep dig later in the game.

Signature Play: Q4, 4:59. Grimes is beaten for a touchdown and can’t even rescue things with a defensive pass interference penalty on the play.

PFF Game Ball

It’s tempting to go with a Miami player here because they ended up with the win. Randy Starks and Cameron Wake were huge in killing that final Minnesota drive and Lamar Miller had a fine game on the ground, but the best player out there was Teddy Bridgewater despite the losing effort.


Follow Sam on Twitter: @PFF_Sam

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • Chuck

    Better than Tannehill?

    • bbies1973

      I think it’s the level of elevation in his game that made the decision. Tannehill has been playing solid ball for most of the season, just let down by his receivers a lot. Bridgewater elevated his game in a way that true pro QBs do at the end of the season.

    • Guest

      You guys realize Bridgewater and Tannehill were not in the same draft class, don’t you?

  • It depends on what fails

    It was great enjoying Teddy’s best performance of the year, too bad the Viking let him down in such a Viking way of losing a game.

    I hope he becomes the best QB of the class to prove all the so-called scouts wrong. Meanwhile, Jacksonville can enjoy reaching for the worst QB in footbal (Manziel and Lindley don’t count, they are below the Tebow line) at #3 and Cleveland can enjoy paying 100k for a QB research that conclued that Teddy was the best QB only to draft another guy, can’t wait to see them starting their 22nd, 23rd and maybe 24th QB since 99 next year.

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    Minnesota was robbed.

    • Brad

      Who cares both teams are trash compared to the patriots.

      • Riffle,Rod&Fly

        I can’t wait until Belichick retires or decides to do charity work in Cincy for whatever pennies Mike Brown can pay him. I miss the irrelevant Pats of my youth. Nothing lasts forever, except for maybe the Steelers. Just wait…

  • Fintasy

    I’m a Fish fan, but I will admit the refs robbed the Vikes on that clear touchdown, which resulted in a close Miami win.

    • Ivan C

      What Dolfan calls themself a fish fan????? ” An Imposter” and enough with the ref talk already…SMH, wind your neck in and suck it up! both sides got some crappy calls, that’s how it is in today’s nfl.

      • TTTRickYYY

        It was a terrible call. BUT every Dolphin fan will remember how we got robbed in the Ravens game AND the Denver game, so we get one back.