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Few bright spots in the Vikings' PFF grades despite 27-22 win over Jets

Tomlinson was the team's best pass rusher in his return, Thielen, Osborn, and Cook poor for the offense

For the third time this season the Vikings gave up 486 yards to an opposing offense and for the second time Kevin O'Connell's team squeaked out a 27-22 win despite its porous defense.

The PFF grades are in and they weren't kind to Ed Donatell's defense...

New York's offensive game plan was clear: target rookie corner Akayleb Evans. The 23-year old corner was the worst graded starter on the team with a 36.0 defensive grade before leaving with his second concussion. Evans was targeted nine times, giving up five receptions for 131 yards.

The rest of the Vikings corners didn't fare much better either.

Patrick Peterson finished the afternoon with a 58.0 defensive grade. Duke Shelley, who came in for the injured Evans, was given a 61 while Chandon Sullivan got out of the weekend with a 70.1, his second straight week with a 70+ grade.

There were some positives on the defense as Harrison Smith had two pass breakups and an interception, his fifth of the season, for a 77.2 defensive grade, the highest among defensive starters.

Dalvin Tomlinson, who returned for the first time in five weeks, slotted right back in as one of the teams best pass rushers; his 68.0 pass rush grade was highest on the team.

Tomlinson's return though didn't open things up for Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith like the Vikings probably would have wanted. Hunter and Smith combined for five total pressures on the afternoon, with neither registering a sack.

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As for the offense, their struggle to control the ball showed up in the grades.

Four starters had sub-60 grades (Garrett Bradbury, CJ Ham, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook) while only three had grades higher than 70 (Brian O'Neill, Blake Brandel, Kirk Cousins).

Yes, backup left tackle Blake Brandel finished with the second-highest grade among offensive starters with a 78.8 grade. Despite giving up both of Kirk Cousins' sacks, Brandel's pass blocking grade (72.6) was second-best on the offensive line, unsurprisingly behind Brian O'Neill. Where Brandel dominated, according to PFF, was in run blocking, finishing with a team high 88.4 grade.

Kirk Cousins finished with his second-lowest passing yardage total of the season but still came in with a 72.4 offensive grade, just .03 off his season average. Predictably, Cousins struggled when blitzed, posting a 43.8 passing grade on nine dropbacks during a Jets blitz.

Cousins' average depth of target (ADOT) jumped back to 9.5 after taking a dip (5.9) last week against the Patriots. That 9.5 ADOT is around the average for Cousins since the Vikings returned from the bye week.

The matchup everyone wanted to see heading into the Week 13 game ended up split pright down the middle as Justin Jefferson, when lined up on Jets rookie corner Sauce Gardner, was targeted just twice, catching one for ten yards.

Jefferson was instead asked to line up against D.J. Reed for much of the afternoon and finished with one touchdown and three receptions off of five targets. He finished with an offensive grade of 67.1 and a receiving grade of 64.8.

Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn weren't of much help to Cousins throughout the afternoon finishing with a combined four catches off of nine targets for 44-yards.