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Week 5 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 28, New York Giants 10


What you need to know

Minnesota Vikings

It took 5 weeks, but it looks like Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen are finally on the same page. Unfortunately, that leaves out a Stefon Diggs who does not seem happy in Minnesota anymore and will make for an interesting dynamic the rest of the season. The Vikings were able to contain Daniel Jones this week and had the Giants down to an undrafted rookie running back after Wayne Gallman left with a concussion. Dalvin Cook had some ball security issues and put it on the ground twice. The fumble he lost turned into a safety for the defense but should have been a goal to go situation from the 1 for the offense instead. The big story is Cousins and Thielen getting back on the same page and the offense pushing the ball down the field through the air. Cook had another 100-yard game and accounted for more than 200 yards of total offense again this week. The Vikings play host to a Philadelphia team that has struggled at times this season as they look to climb out of the basement in the NFC North.

New York Giants

1. Jones looked like a rookie at times but left two big touchdown passes on the field, which would have somewhat saved his fantasy day. Not a cause for concern, he has a relatively low level of skilled talent currently around him.

2. Tate really didn't factor in this game and may be an irrelevant player for the Giants as Jones looked to Engram/Shepard a lot more often.

3. The running game completely disappeared without Gallman and no running back replacement is worth starting in most leagues.

Minnesota Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 27 - 306 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0
We finally got a glimpse of the Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen connection from the beginning of last season. It came against a very poor Giants secondary, but at least we know it can still happen. Cousins had easily his best game of the season with more than 300 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. The biggest issue this week was the inability to score touchdowns and settling for 4 field goals and a safety. The first touchdown for Cousins went for 15 yards to Thielen and capped off a drive that started at their own 2-yard line. Thielen made a move at the line and had just half a yard of separation from his man when Cousins delivered the back-shoulder fade. Thielen turned around just in time to make the catch as he was falling to the ground. The second touchdown came after a 41-yard run by Dalvin Cook and came on a 9-yard play-action pass in the back of the end zone for Thielen. Cousins left the ball a little high to get over the linebacker in the middle of the field, but Thielen was able to come down with it for the score. Cousins accounted for 5 plays over 20 yards and had the longest play of the game on a 44-yard pass to Thielen. The protection still needs to get better with Cousins being sacked 3 times for a loss of 27 yards, but it was a much better performance overall.

RB Dalvin Cook, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 132 - 0, Rec: 6 - 86 - 0 (6 targets)
It is easy to overlook some mistakes when you account for more than 200 yards of total offense and one of your fumbles results in a safety and then a field goal on the ensuing drive. Cook has been a force all season long and took full advantage of playing a defense that was not the Bears this week. He benefitted from a quarterback that was pushing the ball down the field and the Giants were unable to stack the box to try and stop him. Cook had a long 41-yard run to setup an Adam Thielen touchdown and was the longest play on the ground for either team. He did not find the end zone this week and fumbled away his best chance just before half time. Cook ripped off a 19-yard run off the edge but was chased down by Jabrill Peppers and had the ball punched out. Adam Thielen narrowly missed recovering the fumble on the 1-yard line before the Giants got it. Cook would most likely have gotten the ensuing carry and would have had a chance for an easy touchdown. Cook chipped in 6 catches on 6 targets and was the second leading receiver for the team this week. He had a long 24-yard catch and run on a wheel route and acted as a safety valve for Cousins this week.

RB Alexander Mattison, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 52 - 0
It can be hard playing behind a guy having as much success as Cook, but Mattison is making the best of his carries when given. He had just 7 carries for over 50 yards and averaged 7.4 yards per carry. His longest run of the day went for 19 yards and Mattison continues to show why the Vikings drafted him. He has been a great compliment to Cook and should start to see more carries as the Vikings try and preserve Cook for his first full season in the NFL. The Vikings have a dynamic duo in the back field to go along with Thielen and Diggs on the outside. This offense should be able to put up a lot of points as long as they get better play from their quarterback.

WR Adam Thielen, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 130 - 2 (8 targets)
Everything finally seems right with Cousins and Thielen after an interesting week in Minnesota. Thielen seemed to call out Cousins after the loss last week and Cousins proceeded to apologize on his radio show and promise to be better. The pair turned that into a 100-yard receiving day and 2 touchdowns. The first touchdown was a beautiful 15-yard back-shoulder fade to Thielen in the end zone. The ball threw him open as Thielen did not have much separation from his defender and he had to make the catch as he was falling to the ground. Thielen was the second option on the play after Cousins looked across the middle first and it showed a level of chemistry that has been missing all season. His second touchdown was a circus catch in the back of the end zone. Cousins let loose a high 9-yard pass that Thielen had to go up and get for the score. The pass was high to get up and over the linebacker in the middle of the field and Thielen had enough room in the back of the end zone to complete the catch. Thielen also accounted for the longest play of the game for either team on his 44-yard reception. Thielen set season highs for catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns this week. This game will go a long way to repairing the relationship between Cousins and Thielen and now they will just have to work on getting Diggs back into the mix.

WR Stefon Diggs, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (4 targets)
After all the trade drama and missed practices, Diggs suited up for the Vikings this week and played on Sunday. It was not the results he wanted after a big game against the Bears, but at least there was progress with his quarterback and pushing the ball down the field. Diggs caught 3 of his 4 targets for less than 50 yards this week and was the 3rd leading receiver on the team and had nearly half his yards come on a single catch for 20 yards. Diggs was targeted in the end zone on a deep ball from Cousins but saw it fall incomplete for his long scoring chance. There was a lot of contact on both sides and either player could have been called for potential pass interference. Diggs is still clearly unhappy with the Vikings and the $200,000 fine he got for missing meetings and practices last week are not going to help things.

TE Kyle Rudolph, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets)
The offense continues to go through Cook on the ground and Thielen through the air and Rudolph continues to struggle. A few weeks ago he was being pushed by Irv Smith for playing time, and now he just appears to be nonexistent when on the field. Rudolph caught his long target for 4 yards this week and has been a non-factor in the red zone or anywhere else for that matter. The offense is going to have to even out or teams will be able to game plan to stop certain players. Rudolph needs to step up if this offense wants to continue to succeed over the course of an entire season.


New York Giants

QB Daniel Jones, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 38 - 182 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0
Daniel Jones struggled for most of this game while looking like a rookie at times. He did have issues with his accuracy and ball placement which cost the Giants touchdowns as he left plays on the field.

Shepard was wide open down the sideline and Jones overthrew him by a few yards which almost definitely would have resulted in a big touchdown play. Jones showed some good awareness by tucking the ball at the right time and picking up a first down on the ground but this was rarely accomplished on Sunday. He made an incredibly accurate throw to Slayton for a big touchdown in the back of the endzone on a go route, placing the ball just in stride for his receiver to be able to catch it in bounds. This was the highlight for Jones however as his struggles began afterwards. He forced a deep pass into double coverage and was fortunate it wasn't picked off. Jones had Shepard again wide open for a touchdown but his ball placement was too high and off target so Shepard landed out of bounds. He began to take sacks in crucial situations and backed the Giants away from the goal line. He threw a lot of passes at receivers that were well covered and was generally late on a lot of throws. This caused defenders to be able to hit his intended targets very quickly and several catch attempts were broken up. His only interception came at the very end of the game on 4th down as he tried to sneak a short pass outside but the defender stepped in front of it. If Jones had hit some of his touchdowns, his day would have been dramatically improved from a fantasy perspective. More of a down day but nothing to be concerned about long term.

Not recommended as a fantasy option.

RB Jon Hilliman, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 20 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)
Jon Hilliman accomplished very little on the ground on Sunday against the Vikings and wasn't a factor in the passing game either. Injuries forced him into the lineup against a stout Minnesota defense that gave up very little room. He was used up the middle a lot on dives and delays but couldn't get into a rhythm. The Giants were down early in this game and the running game had to be abandoned somewhat in favour of the passing game, which didn't make life easier for Hilliman. He got the most carries and clearly was the #1 back when Gallman went out but the production was sub-par. The Vikings defense hit him hard and quickly when he got the ball and it just wasn't his day to contribute offensively.

RB Wayne Gallman, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 14 - 0
Wayne Gallman had two carries, looking powerful and strong with 14 yards on the ground but unfortunately left the game very early with a concussion. He did not return.

WR Sterling Shepard, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 5 - 49 - 0 (10 targets)
Sterling Shepard had an average day by his standards for the Giants but it could have been so much better as misplays by Jones left scores on the field. He broke free and was completely open down the sideline in the first quarter for an easy potential touchdown on a big pass play but his quarterback overthrew him by a few yards. Shepard had some nice catches over the middle, diving for some and making the first man miss occasionally. He could have had another touchdown in the redzone as he was wide open again but a high ball forced a jump and he landed out of bounds. Jones forced a deep ball in Shepard's direction late but he was not open. He took a big hit over the middle and managed to hold onto it which was impressive and demonstrates his strong catching ability. Jones looked Shepard's way a lot and the two clearly have some chemistry. If his young quarterback can be slightly more accurate, Shepard could see some big games sporadically.

WR Darius Slayton, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 62 - 1 (5 targets)
Darius Slayton was the leading receiver for the Giants but most of it came on one play, though it was spectacular. Slayton beat two men deep down the field on a go pattern and hauled in a perfectly placed ball in the back of the endzone. He worked well with Jones at times, working back to his rookie quarterback and showing his numbers when he was under pressure. Slayton will find it tough to compete with guys like Engram/Shepard. He does have play making potential however as a deep threat, as we saw on Sunday. Predicting these plays and games would prove very difficult however.

WR Golden Tate, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (6 targets)
Golden Tate really wasn't a factor in his debut for the Giants and Jones rarely looked his way. A lot of his targets came in the fourth quarter as the game was well decided. Tate got short passes and forced an illegal contact penalty in the redzone but was invisible for the majority of this game. Tate will need to work on his chemistry with Jones and time will tell if the duo can perform on the field.

TE Evan Engram, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0, Rec: 6 - 42 - 0 (11 targets)
Evan Engram was the most targeted Giant from Jones on Sunday but this didn't correspond into a big day for fantasy. Jones was targeting Shepard down the field a lot more and Engram was working the middle of the field. The Vikings made an effort to stick with Engram and he was tackled very quickly on a lot of his catches. The Giants tried him on a few end around rush attempts but these had mediocre results as the blocking was not there.

Engram was hit hard over the middle, causing the ball to pop loose and it was almost picked off. Jones tried to connect with Engram on a fade route in the corner of the endzone but the defender played it very well and was in coverage.

He got hit again over the middle and another ball become loose. Engram is a top target priority for Jones but the game script got wonky for the Giants once they went down big to the Vikings. Jones also struggled throwing the ball down the field and Engram couldn't gain separation in key moments.