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Other Week 10 Game Recaps

Week 10 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 38, Washington Redskins 30

What you need to know

Minnesota Vikings

There were several storylines as the Vikings took on the Redskins in week 10. Teddy Bridgewater made his emotional return to the field as he suited up to play behind Case Keenum. Bridgewater's return seemed to light a fire under Keenum as he threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns against a tough Washington secondary. Stefon Diggs also finally returned from an early-season groin injury to look like his former self and Adam Thielen topped 100 yards and added a touchdown. The running game looked impressive early with Latavius Murray getting the start again, but faltered as the game wore on. The final score looks close, but the Vikings were in control most of the game. Minnesota will face a tough test when the L.A Rams come to town next week.

Washington Redskins

Washington's secondary got to torched against the Vikings. This was not expected considering they have everyone back healthy. They might need to let Josh travel with #1 receivers so that they can at least have a stop gap in opposing team's passing attack. The run game is still an issue which puts the game on Kirk's shoulders. That can be detrimental to their chances of winning. The running game doesn't seem to be improving so Kirk will get a chance over the remainder of the season to prove he can be a franchise leading quarterback. Defensively, if they can't limit teams in the red zone or get off the field on third down then the offense will crumble anyway from constantly playing ‘catch up.’

Minnesota Vikings

QB Case Keenum, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 29 - 304 - 4 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - -1 - 0
It was really a tale of two quarterbacks with Keenum this week. There were times when he looked like an All-Pro quarterback and then others that showed why he was a free agent signing. Keenum did top 300 yards passing and threw a career-high 4 touchdowns, but it was the two interceptions that left the door wide open for a Teddy Bridgewater return. The first interception came on the Redskin's side of the field when he tried to hit Kyle Rudolph down the left sideline. Keenum scrambled out of the pocket and lobbed a ball off his back foot for an easy interception. He would have been better off throwing this ball away or trying to run for a few yards up the sideline as Rudolph had no chance to make the catch. The second interception was worse as he again tried to force the ball to Rudolph and had the route undercut by DJ Swearinger. The only saving grace was Keenum was able to knock the ball out of Swearinger's hands at the 2-yard line or else it would have been a pick-6. These two mistakes aside, Keenum did have a lot of success and found the end zone 4 other times to Diggs, Thielen, Wright, and Morgan. Diggs and Thielen accounted for 17 of his 29 targets and more than 60% of his total yardage. Thielen and Diggs accounted for the explosive plays of 49 and 51 yards and Keenum completed passes to 6 different receivers. This was Keenum's best game for Minnesota to date, but with a tough stretch of the schedule coming up there may be a lot of people calling for Teddy Bridgewater to take his starting job back.

RB Latavius Murray, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 68 - 1
The Vikings run game looked amazing at the start of the game. Both Murray and McKinnon were ripping off nice chunks of yards and Murray even found the end zone. This is when the Washington game plan switched to stacking the box to stop the run and making Case Keenum beat them with his arm. Unfortunately for Washington, Keenum did just that but Murray's numbers suffered from that point on. Aside from his 14-yard rush to set up a 1-yard touchdown pass and his 1-yard touchdown run, Murray could not get anything going on the ground. Murray was also not targeted in the passing game at all today and saw a 1-yard touchdown go to David Morgan through the air later in the game. Murray seems entrenched as the starter and had 7 more carries than McKinnon today. It will be interesting to see if the Viking's success throwing the ball this week opens anything up on the ground next week.

RB Jerick McKinnon, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 32 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (2 targets)
It has been a back and forth affair with Murray and McKinnon all season, but there seems to be more of a pattern developing lately. McKinnon is clearly the better pass catching back and plays a role on special teams, while Murray is used in more power and rushing situations. McKinnon averaged 3.2 yards per carry and had almost a third of his yards come on one carry. It has been a struggle in the Viking's backfield since Adrian Peterson left, but there seem to be more clear and defined roles for McKinnon and Murray now. Despite the gaudy passing numbers for Keenum, McKinnon only had 2 targets and was used very sparingly in the passing game. It will be interesting to see if the Viking's success throwing the ball this week opens anything up on the ground next week.

WR Adam Thielen, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 166 - 1 (12 targets)
It looked like it was going to be the Stefon Diggs show early against the Redskins, but Keenum and Thielen found a rhythm from the second quarter on. Thielen lead the Vikings in targets, yards, and added an impressive touchdown grab and a 49-yard reception. The 49-yard reception came at the expense of Josh Norman and was entirely through the air. Thielen ran right up the seam and Keenum escaped the pass rush and rolled to his left. Had the ball been thrown a little further, Thielen could have avoided a diving Norman and taken the ball into the end zone. On the touchdown drive, Thielen accounted for 3 of the 6 plays and 62 total yards. The Vikings capitalized on the poor play of Bashaud Breeland and Thielen eventually found the end zone. Keenum had rolled to his right and found Thielen just over the goal line for the touchdown. The most impressive part was how Thielen wrestled the ball away from the defender after it was thrown just behind him. Thielen also added a 38-yard reception on this drive after beating Breeland in coverage. This was Thielen's second game with 150+ receiving yards, adding him to TY Hilton and Antonio Brown as the only receivers with more than one.

WR Stefon Diggs, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 78 - 1 (5 targets)
Diggs was coming off a groin injury and a root canal and had a tough matchup with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland. None of this slowed Diggs down as he added a 51-yard reception with Norman in coverage and a 3-yard touchdown early in the game. The 51-yard reception came after he simply ran past Norman on an out and up down the sideline. It looked as if Norman misjudged Diggs' speed and was slow to turn his hips and run. Diggs was pushed out of bounds at the 2-yard line after Norman was able to close the distance when Diggs slowed to catch the ball. The 3-yard touchdown was a well-executed out route, but the noteworthy part was Diggs' embracing the goalpost in his celebration and being assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. When healthy, Diggs and Thielen have combined to be one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL and it looks like Diggs is finally healthy again.

WR Jarius Wright, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 1 (1 targets)
Wright only had one target against the Redskins, but it ended up being the most important one. Wright took a 7-yard screen-play into the end zone on 3rd and 5 and provided the final touchdown to put the game away for the Vikings. Wright followed his blockers and was not touched by a Washington defender on his way to the end zone.

TE Kyle Rudolph, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 37 - 0 (7 targets)
Keenum wanted to get the ball to Rudolph today, so much so he threw both of his interceptions after targeting the big tight end. Rudolph was second on the team with 7 targets, all of which were caught, two by the other team. Rudolph has not been a huge factor in the Viking's offense with Case Keenum at quarterback but continues to draw additional coverage in the red zone and on third down. Keenum was able to hit him for 12 yards on a skinny post, but outside of that there was no catch and run opportunities for Rudolph. The Vikings had a lot of success in the air against Washington this week, but Rudolph did not play a big role in that.

TE David Morgan, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 1 - 1 (1 targets)
It may have only been 1 catch for 1 yard, but it was an important 1 yard for Morgan and the Vikings. After faking a jet sweep to Diggs, Keenum was able to find Morgan all alone in the end zone for a touchdown. The Vikings run game had faltered at this point and Minnesota needed to try something different to put points on the board. Morgan has not been very active in the offense to this point but came up big when he was needed today.

Washington Redskins

QB Kirk Cousins, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 45 - 327 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 5 - 2
Kirk Cousins had a seemingly big day statistically, but in reality, he didn't play as well. Kirk was constantly inaccurate in a pass heavy game. He attempted forty-five passes barely completed over half of them. However, he threw a thirty-six yard dime on the opening drive that was caught for a one-handed touchdown. Kirk also accounted for two rushing scores in the red zone which is rare. Washington was down double digits but the defense gave Kirk great field position to capitalize and make a comeback. Pressure was a factor for Kirk in this game but some of the throws he had were simply off. As the franchise quarterback, it is a must that he plays better in order for Washington's offense to put up points. The inability to sustain drives on 3rd downs is also a huge factor in the offense stalling for Kirk. When the run game is sputtering he will need to make more plays and hasn't shown the ability to carry the offense when needed. Kirk only had one turnover despite the high volume of passing in today's game. The turnover was on a brutal misread in which he seemed to predetermine where he wanted to throw the ball. It should also be noted that Josh Doctson dropped a potential touchdown where Kirk placed the ball out for him to make a play.

RB Chris Thompson, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 26 - 0, Rec: 3 - 41 - 0 (7 targets)
Chris Thompson had a combined twelve touches and was relatively quiet versus Minnesota. He hasn't had as many ‘splash’ plays the last few weeks, but he did have a twenty-seven yard reception in this game. He lined up outside and took advantage of the safety trying to cover him one on one as they usually design ways to use him. Chris hasn't been able to put his stamp on the passing game and that has slowed down the offense to some extent. He had a couple of plays today that could have gone for big gains had it not been for timely tackling. Having the offensive line back also helps Chris as well, most notable in the screen game. Chris wasn't very productive on the ground against the stout Vikings front seven but he doesn't specialize in the run game.

RB Samaje Perine, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 35 - 0, Rec: 1 - 25 - 0 (1 targets)
Samaje Perine filled in for Rob Kelley following an injury that knocked him out of the game. He didn't find much success as he had nine carries for less than forty yards. Samaje lacks explosion in the run game and the deficit didn't allow him to get in rhythm due to heavy passing. He did have a dump off pass that went for twenty-five yards. That was his biggest play of the day but he was mostly ineffective coming in for Rob. Samaje will struggle until he becomes a more decisive runner.

RB Rob Kelley, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)
Rob Kelley only had four carries and let this game early due to injury.

WR Jamison Crowder, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 76 - 0 (11 targets)
Jamison Crowder looks to be hitting his stride in the 2nd half of the season. Coming off injury, he continued his strong play as he paced the Redskins receivers in reception yards. He only had four receptions but his big play ability after the catch seems to be back. Washington has made more of an effort to get him involved with Jordan Reed unavailable. Jamison hasn't had to worry about Jordan soaking up targets over the middle of the field lately. He had a thirty-six yard reception which was his longest reception and demonstrated his sudden burst as he gained separation at the top of his route. Jamison was targeted an additional two times but his production and activity level is trending up. This was a tough matchup and he still found way to be a factor. That is an encouraging sign going into the 2nd half of the season.

WR Josh Doctson, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 30 - 0 (7 targets)
Josh Doctson is still struggling to become the playmaker Washington craves in this offense. He had four receptions and didn't even eclipse the fifty-yard mark. However, he did drop a thirty-five yard ‘would be’ touchdown that would have certainly made for a more productive day. He didn't find many opportunities in this game as the Vikings secondary has been elite all year.

WR Ryan Grant, 9 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (3 targets)
Ryan Grant continues to be a part time receiver and not being a focal point in the offense. He left this game with a concussion.

WR Maurice Harris, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 50 - 1 (3 targets)
Maurice Harris had a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab on the opening drive of the game. This looked like a specific play design that was meant to utilize him in efforts to possibly throw off the Vikings. These types of plays should be going to Josh Doctson but nonetheless Maurice only totaled two receptions. His playing time was sporadic as a newcomer to the receiving core, but the coaching staff clearly felt he could be useful.

TE Vernon Davis, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 76 - 0 (11 targets)
Vernon Davis led the team in receptions and was very active against the Vikings. Considering how productive he has been over the past month, today was even more impressive. He was often an outlet for Kirk while facing immense pressure at times. This game had a pass heavy script so Vernon's reception total is a season high for him. He didn't have one of his typical long receptions in this game, as the Vikings kept him in check. Vernon has been a terrific fill in for Jordan throughout his injury riddled year. However, the ‘spread it around’ nature of the Washington offense makes his productions somewhat unpredictable on a weekly basis.