clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

4 takeaways from the Vikings’ 31-13 win over the Texans

The Vikings are 5-0 thanks to a big-play passing game, a shutdown defense, and a little help from the Houston Texans.

NFL: Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Houston Texans, 31-13, to remain undefeated. This game took place at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings’ defense will not let opponents score easily, and their offense can light up the scoreboard. Here are four things you should know about this game.

Bradford continues to play lights-out

Even without an explosive rushing attack and Stefon Diggs, the Vikings’ star receiver, out for this game, quarterback Sam Bradford orchestrated this fast-paced offense really well. He made tough throws and got his receivers involved early.

On Minnesota’s first possession, Bradford threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to receiver Adam Thielen to give Minnesota a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter. Bradford took the snap, stood in a clean pocket, and delivered the throw. Thielan beat Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph with a double move.

Early in the fourth quarter, Bradford struck again with a 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

Indeed, Bradford is recording great stats this season because he is making great decisions with the football, converting on third downs, and avoiding turnovers. Bradford finished the game with 271 yards passing and two touchdowns.

Speaking of turnovers, the Vikings have yet to commit one this season.

Houston, this offense is the problem

Houston had a hard time moving the chains in this game. Indeed, you must credit the Vikings’ smothering defense, but Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler missed a lot of easy throws. The offensive line struggled to keep defenders out of Osweiler’s face and create rushing lanes for running back Lamar Miller.

Miller finished the game with 20 yards on eight carries. Osweiler went 19-of-42 for 184 yards to go along with a touchdown and an interception.

Minnesota’s defense is legit

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has built a strong, physical defense in Minnesota. This unit defended the pass and run really well in this game. The defensive line did not allow Osweiler to stand in clean pockets, and the linebackers clogged up rushing lanes. Minnesota sacked Osweiler four times and held Houston to 214 yards of total offense in this game.

The cornerbacks did not give up a lot of big plays down the field. Xavier Rhodes shadowed DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans’ star receiver, throughout the entire game. In fact Hopkins didn't record his first reception until the third quarter. Rhodes is having a fantastic season so far. Hopkins caught five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Bradford-to-Thielen connection

Thielen did a great job of filling in for Diggs. He caught seven passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. When Bradford needed a big play, he kept looking in Thielen’s direction. He is a receiver who plays with physicality and toughness. If Thielen continues to play at this level, the Vikings’ offense will be hard to stop.

What’s next?

The Vikings are heading into their bye week undefeated at 5-0. No one saw this coming from Minnesota, especially after a lot of key players on the team went down with injuries. The Vikings are starting to look unbeatable. Can they keep this up? Only time will tell.

The Texans dropped to 3-2, and they will head back home to take on a divisional foe in the Indianapolis Colts. Houston is still on top of the AFC South, but if it wants to win this division, its offense must step up and make plays.