MINNEAPOLIS, MN (KELO) — The Minnesota Vikings opened the NFL season with a convincing 28-12 win against Atlanta, and saw contributions in all phases of the game.
Mike Zimmer wants the Vikings to play great defense, win the turnover battle, and control the clock with the run game. Sunday’s win over Atlanta was a near perfect example of what he envisioned.
“I thought we played hard which is important. I thought we played fast, and other than the penalties I think we played smart, so if we can continue to do that I think we have a chance to win some games,” Zimmer said.
Zimmer’s defense got the momentum shifted in Minnesota’s favor when Anthony Barr sacked Matt Ryan on the game’s first play.
“It was a big play. You know you come in, make a play like that on the first play, kind of sets that tone and gets the energy going right away,” Vikings Safety Anthony Harris said.
After the “D” forced a three-and-out, the Vikings special teams added to that momentum as Eric Wright blocked the Falcons’ punt, leading to an early TD strike from the offense, and a 7-0 lead.
“Anytime you start your season with the field position we had. Our defense and special team’s gave us some gifts there,” Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins said.
Atlanta turned the ball over in two of their next three possessions, and the Vikings made them pay by scoring touchdowns after each takeaway.
“Great to be able to capitalize off turnovers. Coach Zimmer always talks about that. He also talks about coming away with touchdowns in the redzone and not field goals,” Cousins said.
Minnesota threw the ball only 10 times in today’s pass happy NFL, but rushed for 172 yards on 38 tries, led by Dalvin Cook’s 111 yards and 2 TD’s on the ground.
“I have no problem with being conservative. As long as we win the football game, that’s all that matters to me,” Cousins said.
Now Minnesota quickly changes its focus to next week’s matchup with its biggest rival, Green Bay.
“It’s one game. Let’s move on, let’s get back to work. Let’s do what we do. Let’s learn from our mistakes from this game, and let’s learn them for the next game,” Zimmer said.
“They’re all separate games. We start from scratch to get ready for the Packers,” Cousins said.
The Vikings and Packers cross paths Sunday at Lambeau Field. Kickoff is set for noon.