After suffering 2 tough road losses to start the season, the Minnesota Vikings found themselves back home in Minnesota and were able to come out with a 30-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Even more impressive, it had been 12 years since the Vikings last beat the Seahawks and the first time ever that they had beaten the Russell Wilson led Seahawks (now 1-7 against Wilson). Starting the season out 0-2 already had Minnesota fans disgruntled and scratching their heads, especially since both losses were under extremely winnable circumstances.
Cousins and the offense were able to convert 3 passing touchdowns to TE Tyler Conklin, WR Adam Thielen and WR Justin Jefferson all in the first half, even without their explosive RB Dalvin Cook (ankle injury). RB Alexander Mattison stepped in beautifully for Cook as he was able to accumulate 26 carries for 112 yards as well as 6 catches for another 59 yards. The Vikings went into the half with a 21-17 lead and were able to sustain 3 long drives in the second half leading to Kicker Greg Joseph's much needed perfect day going 3-3 on field goals leading to a 30-17 victory. (In my pregame post, I had predicted a Vikings 30-24 victory.)
The Vikings defense also seems to have found their rhythm since the second half of the Cardinals game. Just like they did with QB Kyler Murray in the second half, they were also able to keep QB Russell Wilson in the pocket most of the game, rather than letting him run around to buy time to make huge plays. The Seahawks scored on their first 3 drives of the game to take a 17-7 lead, but weren't able to score a single point after that. With the combination of this hard nosed defense and hot QB play for the Vikings, it does feel like this team has an opportunity to make a nice run at the beginning of the season.
Slow down the hype a bit fans: Cousins is playing some very good football right now He is 88-119 passing with 918 yards, 8 touchdowns and no turnovers. It is nice to see a relatively changed Cousins, but since 2015, he does have the 3rd most turnovers out of all QBs in the league. It also isn't the first time he has had a stretch of 3 games where he has played well. He also isn't as dominate as the numbers have shown, the Vikings are 1-2 to start the season and the 3 games he has played haven't exactly been primetime games, an area that he has struggled in his career. Before the Seahawks game, the Vikings offense scored 7 points in the first half of the Bengals game and only 3 points in the second half of the Cardinals game. Yes, Cousins and the offense had gotten us into a position to win both games, but there needs to be better play if our goal is to win the division or even just make a Wild Card spot.
Fun extra moments during the Vikings Homecoming: Before the game started, fake snow was sprinkled down over the stands from the rafters to fit the cold-north theme the Vikings have embraced since moving into US Bank Stadium five years ago. At one point in the game, Cousins' shoe was not on properly after breaking the huddle and he proceeded to fling it 20 yards behind before failing to convert on a 3rd down (later the announcers were able to refer to him as "2-shoes Cousins" as he connected on a touchdown pass, lol). Finally, the fans were blessed with the opportunity to watch as a fan ran around the field mid-game, throwing in a perfectly executed summersault, then hitting the "Griddy" before being tackled right at the goal-line by security.
Overall, this was what the Vikings fans needed! A dominant victory to start a 3-game home stand over a franchise that has had their number for more than a decade. Next on the schedule, the Vikings will welcome in Kevin Stefanski, Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns to US Bank Stadium as they look to improve to 2-2. The Browns will be another difficult game as they have a strong leader at QB in Baker Mayfield, a ferocious two headed running game with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and a very solid all-around defense. I will have more on this game later in the week, but let's take some time to enjoy the first victory of the season!