The Vikings started fast and finished strong along the way to a 28-10 road win over the New York Giants on Sunday. Any road game that ends with Vikings fans getting the Skol Chant going and the quarterback kneeling on the ball is a good game, and that's what happened for the Vikings this week.
Here are five takeaways from Sunday's win over the Giants.
1. Vikings play complimentary football on the road
It's an uneasy feeling being a near-touchdown favorite as the road team, and that's where the Vikings found themselves this week even after their substandard showing on the road in Chicago last week. But head coach Mike Zimmer's team came out sharp and didn't let up on Sunday, using complementary football to put together a complete and convincing win. The Vikings ran the ball well, won the time of possession battle, executed on special teams and were relentless on defense. It all added up to their third win of the season and gives the team good vibes as they headed back home on Sunday night to prepare for next week's home game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
2. Cousins responds well, throws for 300 yards
Sharp, explosive and productive. Those are just a few of the adjectives one could use to describe the performance by Kirk Cousins. A week after the Vikings offense underperformed in Chicago, Cousins was the triggerman behind a performance that generated 490 net yards and 28 points. Cousins completed 22 of his 27 attempts against the Giants for 306 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He averaged an outstanding 11.3 yards per passing attempt, did not turn the ball over and had a passer rating of 138.6.
3. Cook and Thielen chipped in, too
Although Dalvin Cook didn't get into the end zone on Sunday, he was a big reason the offense scored on six of its nine possessions of consequence. The Vikings running back paced the offensive output for the day, generating 218 yards on 27 touches – 132 rushing yards on 21 carries plus 86 receiving yards on six receptions. Cook became the first player in Vikings history to record 120+ rushing yards and 80+ receiving yards in the same game. Fellow playmaker Adam Thielen was up to his old tricks again, too, hauling in seven receptions for 130 yards and scoring both of the Vikings touchdowns.
4. Defense dominated again
The Vikings defense has been dominating this season and that dominance continued at MetLife Stadium. The Giants averaged only 3.4 yards per play and were tackled behind the line of scrimmage eight times by Vikings defenders, including for a safety in the 2nd quarter. Vikings defenders also broke up 11 passes and intercepted rookie quarterback Daniel Jones once. Linebacker Anthony Barr recorded both the interception and the safety. Jones was constantly under duress, with Everson Griffen (1.0), Danielle Hunter (2.0) and Ifeadi Odenigbo (1.0) all recording sacks plus several other defenders registering quarterback hurries and hits. Jones struggled to complete passes for significant yardage; he was 21 of 38 on the day, averaging only 4.8 yards per pass and generating a passer rating of 65.9.
5. The Vikings got it right with their special teams battery
There was some consternation about the Vikings special teams battery (kicker, long snapper, punter) this summer. But that consternation has given way to solid play through five games in the regular season. On Sunday, veteran kicker Dan Bailey converted both of his extra points and all four of his field goals – from distances of 31, 32, 45 and 48 yards. Austin Cutting was accurate on his snaps and punter Britton Colquitt executed his role of holder to perfection and did well on his lone punt – a 57-yarder.