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PFF grades: Josh Metellus, Ivan Pace Jr. stand out in ugly Vikings win

Ivan Pace Jr. had the highest overall defensive grade in the league Sunday

The Vikings and Raiders played a game Sunday that set football back 30 years.

But the Vikings found their way to a 3-0 win at Las Vegas to improve their playoff chances, so let's take a look at the positives, starting with the defense.

Top defensive grades

  1. Ivan Pace Jr.: 92.9
  2. Josh Metellus: 89.6
  3. Mekhi Blackmon: 83.4
  4. Danielle Hunter: 80.4
  5. Troy Dye: 74.4

Undrafted rookie Ivan Pace Jr. was an absolute monster Sunday, registering 13 tackles, a sack that ended the first half and a game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter. Not only did Pace have the highest grade of anyone at Allegiant Stadium, but he had the best defensive grade in the entire league entering Monday night's game. 

Do-it-all safety Josh Metellus was close behind Pace with an 89.6 defensive grade, good for eighth best in the league, after he accounted for seven total tackles and a forced fumble. 

Rookie cornerback Mekhi Blackmon registered his fourth plus-75 defensive grade in his last six games after picking up a fumble and totaling four tackles in just 19 snaps.

Danielle Hunter may not have registered a sack — the first time since Week 9 without one — but he was a menace to Raiders rookie QB Aidan O'Connell, pressuring him seven times.

O'Connell finished with a 56.1 offensive grade while the Raiders top receiver Davante Adams was held to a 50.2 grade. In fact, only one Raiders offensive player finished with an offensive grade over 70 — right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (74.7).

But it takes two inept offenses to tango their way to a 3-0 final. Josh Dobbs finishing in the top five of the Vikings' offensive grades should tell you all you need to know about how much the offense struggled Sunday.

Top offensive grades

  1. Johnny Mundt: 83.8
  2. Justin Jefferson: 77.6
  3. Alexander Mattison: 77.4
  4. David Quessenberry: 69.8
  5. Josh Dobbs: 68.5

Only two players in the Vikings' top five played more than 25 snaps: Dobbs, who was benched in the fourth quarter, and David Quessenberry, who replaced right tackle Brian O'Neill.

There is a significant sample size difference between Dobbs' game and the QB who replaced him late in the game, Nick Mullens, but there's enough to offer a comparison.

Dobbs had a higher passing grade at 69.5. Mullens' passing grade was 62.7. But a further dive into the numbers shows why Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell made the switch — one that's likely to stay for the last four games of the season.

Mullens, on 13 pass attempts, got the ball out of his hands nearly a full second faster than Dobbs did, 2.67 seconds to Dobbs' 3.40. In an offense that preaches being in rhythm, Mullens' 2.67 mirrors Kirk Cousins' 2.69 average time to throw. 

Mullens' 8.3-yard average depth of target was also a significant jump from Dobbs' 6.8 aDOT, which was a difference on the lone scoring drive of the game.

Dobbs was really hurt by several drops from his receivers. Vikings receivers dropped six passes Sunday, the most since they dropped six in the Week 5 loss to Kansas City. 

K.J. Osborn was credited with two drops, while Alexander Mattison, Justin Jefferson, Jalen Nailor and Jordan Addison all had one. Vikings receivers were only 2 of 7 on contested catches, with Jefferson and Addison coming up with the only two. Osborn and T.J. Hockenson were both 0 for 2 when attempting contested catches.

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) misses the ball on a play against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium.

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) misses the ball on a play against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium.

The receiving room was so bad Sunday that the three of the bottom five offensive grades were receivers. The fourth: a tight end.

Worst offensive grades

  1. Austin Schlottmann: 42.9
  2. Josh Oliver: 45.0
  3. Jalen Nailor: 46.6
  4. Brandon Powell: 49.1
  5. K.J. Osborn: 49.8

The worst overall offensive grade of the day belongs to Austin Schlottmann, but it comes with a significant caveat: It was on just two snaps. Schlottmann was one of seven offensive lineman to see the field for the Vikings due to injuries to Dalton Risner and Brian O'Neill.

Blocking grades (Pass | Run)

LT - Christian Darrisaw (84.0 | 59.0)

LG - Dalton Risner (85.2 | 51.3)

C - Garrett Bradbury (65.1 | 57.0)

RG - Blake Brandel (72.2 | 51.0)

RT - Brian O'Neill (64.1 | 65.5)


David Quessenberry (63.5 | 73.8) (42 snaps at RT)

Austin Schlottman (76.5 | 44.4) (2 snaps at LG)

Despite mostly good pass blocking grades, the Vikings offense gave up five sacks and 18 total pressures to the Raiders, making Dobbs' and Mullens' jobs all the more difficult. The lone standout was Dalton Risner allowing just one pressure in 70 snaps.

Pressures allowed

  • Quessenberry: 4
  • Brandel: 3
  • Bradbury: 3 (1 sack)
  • O'Neill: 2 (2 sacks)
  • Darrisaw: 2
  • Risner: 1