3. Depth players have stepped up
Moments after the Vikings thrilling win in Dallas, defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo said something that stuck out.
“We have a bunch of fighters here,” Odenigbo said. “We brought 53 of our best men and we came here to fight. We knew the obstacles, but I’m proud of these boys.”
Odenigbo’s quote was about Minnesota’s resiliency, but also about how Minnesota’s depth has shined often in 2019.
Odenigbo has been one of those standout players, as he has a career-high 3.0 sacks, tied for the third-most on the team with Linval Joseph. Odenigbo has also made a number of noticeable run stops, including one on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott late in the game that helped deliver a win.
Jayron Kearse has also stepped up in recent weeks, as the safety has had a hand in a pair of last-second plays in back-to-back games. He intercepted a Hail Mary on Dallas’ final pass, and then filled in for an injured Harrison Smith on Denver’s final drive, forcing incompletions on the Broncos’ final two end-zone attempts.
Other defensive players who have played well when called upon include defensive linemen Jaleel Johnson and Jalyn Holmes, plus linebacker Eric Wilson, who has a pair of sacks.
Offensively, veteran guard Dakota Dozier has been crucial with four starts along the offensive line. He started at left guard for Pat Elflein in Week 2, then switched sides and started for right guard Josh Kline in Weeks 4, 6 and 11. He also played 38 snaps at Dallas after Kline was injured.
Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has made an impact in his fourth season with six catches for 84 yards, while tight end Tyler Conklin’s unheralded blocking has helped paved the way for the league’s No. 3 rushing attack.