Winners and Losers of Week 1 vs Bengals

The Vikings lost in a sloppy and disappointing 27-24 game against the Cincinnati Bengals in their first game of the 2021 regular season. These lists are in no particular order as well just listed.

5 Winners of Sundays game

1. K.J. Osborn:

Osborn was a name we heard throughout training camp, whether he was going to translate that hype to the actual games was a question in the air. That question was answered partially today when he put up 76 yards on 7 receptions, Osborn was targeted 9 times, which tied for second-most on the team with Justin Jefferson, along with being second in passing yards on the team behind Adam Thielen. Overall Osborn played very well and put up the most amount of yards for a wide receiver not named Thielen, Jefferson, or Diggs in the Mike Zimmer era.

2. Greg Joseph:

Going into this season, no one knew if Greg Joseph was going to be a capable kicker. Today we got to see a glimpse of what he could do, he went 3/3 on extra points and 1/1 on field goals. Not only did he go 100%, but Greg Joseph also made a 53-yard field goal to tie the game up at 24 points and go into overtime.

3. Adam Thielen:

Adam Thielen arguably had the best performance of the day. Thielen at 31 years old, in his 8th NFL Season, not only led the team with 92 yards on 9 catches, but he also caught his 400th pass as a Viking. Thielen also caught 2 touchdowns, picking up where he left off in 2020 where he had 14 touchdowns in 15 games.

4. Michael Pierce:

After spending the 2020 season at home, Michael Pierce came out with a bang to start his Vikings career. In Pierce's 60 career games he only recorded 3.5 sacks, on Sunday Pierce had 2.0 sacks showing that the pass-rushing work he did in the offseason paid off.

5. Dalvin Cook:

Although Dalvin Cook "fumbled" to lead to a game-winning field goal for the Bengals, Cook kept the offense moving. Cook went for 104 total yards on 26 touches with a touchdown, these may not be the craziest numbers Dalvin has put up but his presence and play kept the offense intact and moving to help the comeback.

HM: Justin Jefferson, Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith, Nick Vigil and Harrison Hand

5 Losers of Sundays game

1. Offensive Line:

I don't even know where to start. This Vikings offensive line was inexcusably atrocious. Every single Vikings offensive lineman had at least one penalty, they gave up 3 sacks and were just overall man-handled by this Bengals defensive line. More specifically, Rashod Hill, Ezra Cleveland, and Garrett Bradbury were just terrible. These three guys just do not look like they belong on a football field, they had SIX penalties combined. Yeah, Kirk doesn't have great pocket awareness but this is just downright inexcusable, this offensive line was supposed to be improved and looked WORSE than it did last season.

2. Bashaud Breeland:

Breeland was an under-the-radar signing for the Vikings, on Sunday he showed why no one was intrigued by this signing outside of Vikings fans. Breeland had bad penalties including one that set up a touchdown in the red zone for the Bengals, not to mention him getting burnt by Ja'Marr Chase to give up a touchdown at the end of the first half.

3. Mike Zimmer:

It may finally be time for the Vikings to look themselves in the mirror and consider if they are going to bring Zimmer back in 2022. How can you go into the locker room at halftime after your defense just gives up a touchdown and talk to a reporter and start blaming Kirk Cousins? When will it be time for Zimmer to take some blame or say "I am going to fix this, this is my team" instead of blaming other people and act like he's just the defensive coordinator?

4. C.J. Ham:

Ham did not do anything too terrible but the first drive where he got back-to-back penalties to start the derailing of this team. The first offensive drive for the Vikings is always an important one because Kirk thrives off of scripted drives, so it hurts when a guy like Ham messes that up for the team.

5. The Refs:

I do not want to get too much into the bad officiating from these refs because that is not why we lost the game. We need to be in a position where these missed calls don't affect us so drastically. Jefferson's catch was a touchdown I don't know how you don't reverse that, Cook's "fumble" was an awful call and he was very clearly down before the ball popped out. Do we probably win if that is called correctly? Yes. Should we have been in the position where we are in overtime, tied trying to win the game on a game-winning drive? No.

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