Mano a Mano
Vikings defensive Front vs. Texans QB Deshaun Watson
Who won? Vikings. Yes, the Vikings! They bottled up Watson, particularly in the first half, when he was 6-for-15 passing and sacked twice. Watson was able to attack the Vikings’ depleted secondary in the second half, but they didn’t let him beat them with his feet.
Vikings RT Brian O’Neill vs. Texans DE J.J. Watt
Who won? O’Neill. Watt had a quiet game — three tackles, none for a loss, and the Vikings had no turnovers for the first time this season. Even though Cousins was sacked three times, the Vikings ran effectively to the outside behind O’Neill and Riley Reiff. Watt is 0-4 for the first time in his career. “It’s very, very frustrating,” he said.
Play of the game
Cook broke tackles as he bounced to the outside for a 7-yard touchdown run that gave the Vikings a 17-3 lead late in the second quarter. The play also encapsulated the things the Vikings did well in the game and need to do well in the future to win: red-zone efficiency, running to the edges, consistently feeding Cook. It came on the last of his 15 carries in the first half. “Dalvin has great heart,” coach Mike Zimmer said.
“We have to string wins together. One win isn’t going to do anything for us.”
— Vikings QB Kirk Cousins