The Minnesota Vikings are figuring out not just how to win, but also how to do it against the league’s best teams in beating the Buffalo Bills by a score of 33-30 in overtime.
When you take a look back at the game, the Vikings had some incredible performances on an individual level on both sides of the football.
Let’s take a look at the PFF grades from the NFL’s game of the year.
Top 3 offense
WR Justin Jefferson 91.1
LG Ezra Cleveland 90.2
RT Brian O’Neill 78.6
In a matchup against the player he will be forever linked with in Stefon Diggs, Jefferson showed that he is the best wide receiver in the game with a myriad of impressive catches.
Cleveland had a really nice game after posting a 0.0 PFF pass-blocking grade and allowing nine pressures. He allowed three pressures and a sack, which is hard to completely blame him for since Garrett Bradbury had the opportunity to double-team Ed Oliver and missed it.
O’Neill allowed three pressures but it’s fine in a vacuum since he was facing Von Miller all afternoon.
Bottom 3 offense
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
TE Johnny Mundt 44.1
QB Kirk Cousins 50.1
RG Ed Ingram 55.6
No surprise here with Mundt or Ingram, who wasn’t really that bad on Sunday. He did allow six pressures and step on Cousins’ foot twice, but he was a stalwart player. That’s all he needs to be right now.
Cousins is a weird one. Yes, the two interceptions were bad, but he was tremendous when it mattered at the end, including multiple incredible passes to Jefferson. His grade should have been at least 10 point higher.
Top 3 defense
Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) and defensive back Parry Nickerson (39) and cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) and safety Harrison Smith (rear) react after an interception return for touchdown off a pass by Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
NT Harrison Phillips 87.0
OLB Danielle Hunter 84.1
CB Patrick Peterson 82.4
In his return game to Buffalo, Phillips was excellent in all phases. He played a season-high 54 snaps and had a career-high seven pressures. With Dalvin Tomlinson still out, he filled in very admirably.
With the Vikings playing a lot of contain against the dynamic Allen, pressure numbers weren’t as high as they could have been from Hunter but he was tremendous on Sunday in getting to the quarterback. He is now PFF’s 13th-ranked edge rusher.
Peterson gets credit for both interceptions on Sunday, but he was excellent throughout the game as well. He only allowed 46 yards on four catches and is playing some of the best football in some time.
Bottom 3 defense
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Kris Boyd (29) and linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) celebrate with linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) for recovering a fumble for a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
ILB Eric Kendricks
CB Andrew Booth Jr. 44.4
S Harrison Smith 50.6
It was not a great day for Kendricks, as he struggled mightily during the game. His tackle of Josh Allen where he couldn’t take him down and allowed him to gain seven more yards is the epitome of his day.
Booth Jr. played his first 37 snaps on defense in the NFL and played capable football. He did allow six catches on seven targets for 67 yards, but he didn’t allow receivers to get behind him.
Smith’s grade feels odd on the surface. He had a great play late in the fourth quarter breaking up a pass intended for Stefon Diggs that got the Vikings the ball back to make a potentially game-winning drive.
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) reacts center Garrett Bradbury (56) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
LT Christian Darrisaw 76.4
C Garrett Bradbury 72.6
LT Blake Brandel 66.9
TE T.J. Hockenson 64.2
DE Jonathan Bullard 72.6
CB Akayleb Evans 59.8
OLB Za’Darius Smith 59.8