1 New Playoff Scenario, Taylor Heinicke, Blake Brandel

Questions Answered: 1 New Playoff Scenario, Taylor Heinicke, Blake Brandel
Nov 27, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Questions Answered: 1 New Playoff Scenario, Taylor Heinicke, Blake Brandel

The following questions are about current Minnesota Vikings topics, answered by PurplePTSD. Today is the November 27th edition, addressed in a from-the-hip fashion. If you have questions, please email them to DustinBakerNFL@gmail.com.

Also, please note: These are opinion-based responses. Some answers will be incorrect from time to time. But we’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

Q: Are the Washington Commanders the new likeliest team to face the Vikings in Round 1 of the playoffs?

Questions Answered: 1 New Playoff Scenario, Taylor Heinicke, Blake Brandel
Oct 13, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Washington Commanders defensive tackle Jonathan Allen. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports.

A: Yes, if the postseason started tomorrow, the Vikings would host the Washington Commanders at U.S. Bank Stadium, a team toppled by Minnesota in Week 9.

The other teams to monitor are the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks. Between the Commanders, Giants, and Seahawks, one of the most teams is virtually assured of playing the Vikings, especially if Minnesota hangs onto the No. 2 seed.

So, pick your poison. All of those teams are beatable — but can be sneak good at times.

Q: If the Commanders are 6-1 in their last seven games, is Taylor Heinicke the real deal?

Questions Answered: 1 New Playoff Scenario, Taylor Heinicke, Blake Brandel
Nov 20, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) rushes against the Houston Texans in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

A: No.

The Commanders defense has played wonderfully since Heinicke took over, and that’s even without Chase Young. They’ll get even better when Young returns, which should be soon.

Heinicke ranks 29th among all NFL passers per DVOA, Passer Rating, EPA+CPOE, and Pro Football Focus grade. He flat-out isn’t very good, but the Commanders, as a team, are pretty feisty.

However, as long as Washington continues to win, folks will convince themselves that Heinicke is the real deal. But he isn’t.

Q: Did the numbers prove Blake Brandel did a good job in relief of Christian Darrisaw?

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Blake Brandel (64) stretches before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A: For the most part, yes. Brandel fired up a 55.3 PFF grade against the Patriots, with a 62.9 score via pass protection.

The Patriots pass rush is no joke, and Brandel held up. He certainly wasn’t as proficient as Darrisaw, but no one in the NFL is through 11 games. But Brandel should receive extreme kudos for a job well done against New England. He deserves it.

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Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).