Key Decision #1:
- The Bengals came out flat. They remained flat throughout the game as they did not score until late in the fourth quarter. During pre-game, the news of Marvin Lewis’ future employment status with the team went public and might have had some part in Cincinnati appearing to look to be in disarray. The Vikings at home, jumped all over the Bengals defense from the start as the Vikings took the opening drive 75 yards in nine plays for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Minnesota finished with 347 yards of total offense. Vikings QB Case Keenum finished with 20-of-23 passing for 236 yards, 2 touchdowns. It was never a contest.
Key Decision #2:
- Down 14-0 in the first quarter and immediately after Minnesota returned an interception for a score, the Bengals attempted an ill-advised 4th down and 1 attempt from their own 38-yard line. RB Giovani Bernard’s rushing attempt was stopped for no gain. The Vikings took over on downs and kicked a field goal to make it a three-score game at 17-0 and to put the game completely out of reach. The rout was on.
Key Decision #3:
- The Vikings defense put constant pressure on Bengals QB Andy Dalton. Dalton threw two interceptions in the game, including a “pick six” to linebacker Eric Kendricks in the first quarter. The Bengals were 1 of 13 on 3rd down, and could not get an already challenged running game going without RB Joe Mixon who is out due to concussion. The Bengals were only able to muster 161 total yards. In the first half, Cincinnati only had one first down, and 42 yards of total offense. This was not a good performance
Key Observation #4:
- Sitting Case Keenum in the fourth quarter was a good call by Head Coach Mike Zimmer. There was no need to have him in the game in a rout. With 10:38 left, former Vikings starting QB Teddy Bridgewater took the field for the first time since 2015.
- Injuries to Cincinnati’s linebacking corps prevented the Bengals from forging any real resistance to the Vikings.
- Minnesota showed a new dimension of their passing game as running back Jeremiah McKinnon led the Vikings in receiving with 114 yards on receptions of 41, 31, and 29 yards.
- Bengals WR A.J. Green had two catches for 30 yards.