Minnesota Vikings fans were eager to get their first look at this new Vikings team. With Kevin O’Connell in his first game as head coach and no one being able to see how the team would look until yesterday, we all waited in anticipation to see how the new offense would look, and boy did they not disappoint! The Vikings beat the rival Packers 23-7. The defense held Rodgers to under 200 yards passing, no touchdowns, and even got an interception. On the offensive side, Justin Jefferson erupted for 184 yards and two touchdowns. So, with that, let’s take a look at my Week 1 takeaways for the Vikings.
The Defense Is Better Than The Offense
When you hold Aaron Rodgers to under 200 yards passing and an interception while holding their offense to seven points, your defense is really good; in this case it was the Vikings defense. Minnesota did give up 338 yards of total offense (227 passing and 111 rushing) and 21 first downs, but Green Bay wasn’t able to do much in spite of this. The biggest play for the defense was a fourth and goal stop that led to a Vikings 89-yard drive leading to a field goal to go up 10-0.
The Vikings had three tackles for a loss, four sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. Oh yeah, that interception by Harrison Smith was Rodgers first against a division opponent since Week 17 in 2019 against Detroit.
HARRISON SMITH WITH THE FIRST INTERCEPTION OF THE SEASON FOR THE VIKINGS ‼️#Skol
— Vikings Talk (@LetsTalk_Vikes) September 11, 2022
Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell had the defense geared up and ready to go and it showed. The new 3-4 scheme worked to perfection and Rodgers was helpless against the Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith duo. While it was only week 1, it was a great first game for the defense.
But The Offense Is Still Great
As good as the defense was, the offense was just as good. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson looked like Rodgers and Adams. Kirk went 23-32 (71% completion percentage) throwing for 277 yards and two touchdowns. Jefferson had a monster game bringing in nine receptions for 184 yards (20.4 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. On the ground Dalvin Cook ran for 90 yards on 20 carries (4.5 yards per carry).
O’Connell knew what he was doing, not allowing the Packers defense to settle in as the offense racked up 395 yards of total offense (277 passing and 126 rushing). Minnesota did a ton of pre-snap movement forcing Green Bay to stay on their toes. The Vikings offensive line was also great, only allowing the Packers to sack Cousins once. It will be interesting to see how teams respond to the Vikings offense now that they will have some film to watch. Next week will be a good test with a Monday night matchup in Philadelphia.
The Two-Minute Offense and Defense Was Spectacular
Last season, Minnesota was horrific in the final two minutes of the half and game. They allowed 128 points inside the last two minutes of each half, an NFL-record. In Sunday’s game, the Vikings scored a touchdown and picked off Rodgers during the final two minutes of the first half. To end the game, they gave up nothing as well, a great improvement from last season. Hopefully the Vikings can keep this up and shut down opponents in the last two minutes to give them a massive advantage this season.
Is This A Fluke?
It’s hard to tell. It’s week 1 and Green Bay had a similar performance like this last season against the New Orleans Saints. While Minnesota looked great, it is too early to tell if this level of physicality and dominance can continue. We don’t know how teams will adjust when they play the Vikings, and the adjustments O’Connell can/will make against his opponents. Only time will tell, but for now it was a great week 1 for the Vikings with what looks like a bright future ahead for them.
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