Thumbs up

Yannick Ngakoue: The defensive end said his performance against Green Bay “left a bad taste in (his) mouth,” and he vowed to make it right against Indianapolis. He recorded a strip sack of Philip Rivers, along with four QB pressures and two hurries. Ngakoue is trending in the right direction, which is all the more important when the rest of the defense remains in shambles. — Robb Jeffries

Dalvin Cook: It’s not his fault the offensive coordinator put Alexander Mattison on the field nearly as much as Cook in the first half. It’s not Cook’s fault the offensive line played with the intensity of a training camp walk-through in July. Cook averaged 4.5 yards on his 14 carries and managed to score the team’s only TD, even if it was in garbage time. He’s averaging 4.3 yards per touch so far. It’d be nice if the Vikings could possess the ball for more than 20 minutes this week and give Cook a chance to carry the offensive load. — Jason Feldman

Thumbs down

Kirk Cousins: Yep, I’m piling on and grabbing the low-hanging fruit. If this is the kind of effort $33 million per year gets the Vikings, they’d be better off going with an undrafted rookie. Or checking in to see what Christian Ponder is up to. Cousins had a 0.0 passer rating through three quarters. Worse than his stats was that he miserably failed the eye test. He didn’t look comfortable or confident. His decision making is on par with the Vikings’ historical ability to judge kickers. I’ve defended him for two years because of the numbers he’s put up. Performances like Sunday’s are indefensible. — Feldman

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Team leadership: I’m going to stay away from criticizing any questionable playcalling — after all, I have 57 fewer wins than Mike Zimmer as an NFL head coach — but the Vikings have looked like extras from “The Walking Dead.” Nearly every one-on-one matchup is being lost by Minnesota, and the team seemed deflated even before Indianapolis put the nails in the coffin during the (checks box score) second quarter. Whether it’s the captains or the coaching staff, somebody needs to find a way to get this team going when there aren’t 66,000 fans in U.S. Bank Stadium to energize them. — Jeffries

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