The Minnesota Vikings were able to move to 3-2 on the season after defeating the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, 28-10 in Week 5.
After a rollercoaster week, Kirk Cousins was able to keep his detractors at bay for the moment as he completed 22 of 27 for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Adam Thielen was the main beneficiary of Cousins' success through the air as the receiver was able to haul in seven of his eight targets for 130 yards and two scores. Dalvin Cook, meanwhile, continued his success on the ground rushing for 132 yards.
Despite the loss, Daniel Jones and the New York Giants did have some bright moments during their Week 5 28-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, specifically in the second half. However, New York ultimately struggled to protect Jones and an injury to Wayne Gallman torpedoed their running game all afternoon. A one-dimensional offensive attack is a key reason why the Giants are now 2-3 on the year.
Before we put this game in the rearview mirror, here are our main takeaways from Minnesota's big win.
Why the Vikings won
Kirk Cousins was the big reason for the Vikings' success in Week 5 as he was finally able to get into a rhythm in the passing game. Minnesota was smart with their play calling to get him off to a strong start. They utilized play-action passing game early, had Cousins roll out to eliminate half of the field and that helped him to complete 9-for-10 passing in the opening quarter for 119 yards. That gave him the confidence for the rest of the game to take chances deep and displayed his strong connection with Adam Thielen.
Cousins thriving through the air also opened things up even more for Dalvin Cook and the Vikings who were able to dominate time of possession, particularly in the first half. That really didn't give New York much of an opportunity to contend early and put pressure on each of their possessions.
Minnesota's defense also suffocated Daniel Jones throughout the afternoon. Part of that was poor play by New York's offensive line, but it was also a credit to the strong front seven of the Vikings. They took Jones down four times, picked him off once and had eight quarterback hits.
Why the Giants lost
New York couldn't take advantage of key scoring opportunities. In the third quarter, they were able to take the ball all the way down to the Minnesota 14, but they only were able to come away with a field goal even after being gifted a first down on an unnecessary roughness penalty on an earlier field goal attempt gave them a new set of downs. The Giants' next two offensive possession also found themselves deep in Vikings territory, but weren't able to convert on fourth down. When you facing a defense like the Vikings, you need to put up points.
As we mentioned above, Daniel Jones, who played well overall, was under siege all afternoon. Part of it was simply due to the talent of Minnesota's defense, but the Giants offensive line didn't do themselves any favors. Starting left tackle Nate Solder struggled in pass protection again.
Starting running back Wayne Gallman leaving the game early due to a concussion also destroyed any semblance of a running game for the Giants, which hurt all afternoon.
New York settling for a field goal with 7:35 in the third quarter after taking it down to the Minnesota 14 was a tough swing, especially after the Vikings were able to march down the field to score a touchdown of their own to go up 25-10. Kirk Cousins nailed Adam Thielen for a 9-yard score and it really wasn't much of a contest after that.
Play of the game
Despite the loss, Jones did play well in what was his toughest test as a starter in New York. He completed 21 of 38 for 182 yards a touchdown and an interception. His lone touchdown of the day was a beautiful ball thrown to rookie Darius Slayton. Jones hit him in-stride of the end zone and threw it only where he was able to haul it in. New York wasn't able to get the W, but they still should feel good about their rookie quarterback. Jones' day could've been bigger save for a couple of dropped passes by his wide receivers
Mike Zimmer's quote isn't anything too special as it's really just coach speak, but I'm using it as a springboard to talk about Dalvin Cook, who turned in another monster performance. Not only was he able to dominate on the ground and help Minnesota take control of time of possession in the first half, Cook was a factor in the passing game. He caught all six of his targets for 86 yards as the Giants simply had no answer for him.
Beyond all that, however, the reason why Cousins was able to find success early was due to play action. The threat of Cooks completely opened things up for the Vikings passing game even when he wasn't directly involved. His presence is invaluable to Minnesota.
From here, the Vikings will head back home to host the Philadelphia Eagles. Meanwhile, the Giants are in the midst of a short week as they'll head up to New England to face the Patriots on Thursday Night Football.
To see how it all went down in real time, check out our live blog below.
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