The Minnesota Vikings finished up the 2022 regular season in style by beating the Chicago Bears by a score of 29-13. What made this game unique was the Vikings played backups during the second half to get them some more playing time heading into the playoffs.
As it stands, the PFF grades are out and they paint a simple picture of dominance while giving us insight of how the second-stringers performed in extended action.
Here are the best and worst PFF grades from Sunday’s win.
Top 3 offense
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) rushes for a touchdown as Green Bay Packers cornerback Corey Ballentine (35) defends during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
QB Kirk Cousins 85.9
WR Jalen Nailor 83.9
FB C.J. Ham 83.1
Cousins sitting atop this list shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. He carved up the Bears defense for 225 yards and a touchdown in just a single half.
Nailor was someone that I identified as having a great game and PFF agreed. He isn’t quite ready to get significant playing time, but it’s a great sign heading into next season.
This was a Ham game, as it often is when the game doesn’t matter. That’s not to say that he’s worthless, but the fullback isn’t a vital part of this offense. Ham showed how good he can be and it was a nice showcase.
Bottom 3 offense
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
LT Vederian Lowe 35.1
RB Dalvin Cook 42.9
QB Nick Mullens 52.7
Lowe received his first snaps on offense in his NFL career and PFF didn’t think he played very well. His overall grade was significantly lower than his run-blocking grade (44.1) and his pass-blocking grade (63.3). I thought he played better than that, but it was great to see him getting snaps.
Cook’s grade is that low mainly for one reason: he fumbled it again. He tied Alvin Kamara for the most non-quarterback fumbles this season and it’s been an unfortunate trend.
Mullens overall played well. He got baited by a corner playing cover-two where he threw an interception, but if Cousins happens to go down for any reason, the Vikings can likely manage for a quarter or two.
Top 3 defense
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) signals an incompletion after breaking up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Apj Packers Vs Vikings 010123 267 Ttm
S Josh Metellus 86.7
CB Duke Shelley 85.0
LB Eric Kendricks 84.4
Metellus had a great game on Sunday. He was everywhere but especially sticky in coverage. He allowed only one reception on five targets and that went for -1 yards and paired it with two pass breakups.
Shelley, like Metellus, also had two pass breakups and allowed just one catch on five targets, but his went for 20 yards. Shelley finished the regular season as PFF’s 3rd ranked corner in coverage with a grade of 84.9.
Kendricks was all over the field on Sunday afternoon. He had a pressure, two stops and only allowed one reception. While his future isn’t guaranteed with Minnesota, he’s playing some really good football.
Bottom 3 defense
Minnesota Vikings defensive end D.J. Wonnum (98) sits on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
OLB D.J. Wonnum 44.6
OLB Patrick Jones II 46.7
DE Jonathan Bullard 48.0
The thing with the grades of these three is more about consistency and less about their overall play. All three showed flashes of really good play but they weren’t able to do it consistently.
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) celebrates his rushing touchdown during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
RB Alexander Mattison 78.9
WR Justin Jefferson 61.2
WR Jalen Reagor 62.0
IOL Kyle Hinton 70.1
NT Khyiris Tonga 79.9
LB William Kwenkeu 74.7
NT Harrison Phillips 68.5
CB Kris Boyd 53.6