Fresh Start Wildly Apparent in Vikings Opener

How Can the Vikings Beat
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings opened their 2022 NFL regular season on Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers nearly took momentum on the Packers first offensive play from scrimmage, but from the minute that pass was dropped, it was all Vikings.

Kevin O’Connell’s team came out ready to go on Sunday. It was the same Odin intro as last season, and the Vikings defense was introduced following the snow flying throughout U.S. Bank Stadium. Many similarities could’ve been accounted for as the National Anthem was sung, a flag was unfurled, and a flyover took place. The minute the game kicked off, though, something seemed different.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers saw a streaking Christian Watson wide open down the sideline. Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson tripped on the play and got torched. The ball was placed perfectly, and Watson watched it hit his hands. Then he dropped it.

That hasn’t happened for the Vikings in recent seasons. Fortune hasn’t been on their side, and Mike Zimmer’s 2021 squad saw plenty of opportunities in which they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. This is Kevin O’Connell’s team now, though, and the new captain of the ship put his best foot forward.

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Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings opened their first offensive drive with a pass play. Justin Jefferson racked up nearly 200 yards on 11 targets, nine of which he pulled in. Dalvin Cook still got his, almost eclipsing the century mark on 20 carries, and he was the second-most targeted receiver. Kirk Cousins looked composed under center, and there was no question about how well-oiled this machine looked.

O’Connell opted to keep his starters out for the duration of the preseason. No big names got into exhibition action, yet it didn’t look like they missed a beat. There were no signs of rust, and despite a divisional rival coming in with expectations on their side, Minnesota thoroughly stomped the competition for all sixty minutes.

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Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

This is just the first game, and there are still sixteen more weeks for the Vikings to show up. If O’Connell’s first impression was anything to indicate what is yet to come, it’s hard to be anything but excited for the future.

Minnesota will face other tough tests this season, but Green Bay is largely considered a Super Bowl contender. Allen Lazard wasn’t out there for the Packers, but it really wouldn’t have mattered if he was. Time to build on the momentum and showcase it again in primetime on Monday night in Philadelphia.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.