EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings opened their 61st season sluggishly on offense before rallying to force overtime in an eventual 27-24 loss to the Bengals Sunday in Cincinnati.
The defense opened strong and recorded five sacks, including 2.0 by Michael Pierce in his Vikings debut, but the group gave up two touchdowns inside the final two minutes of the first half.
Each week this season, we'll take a deeper dive at some "next-day stats" with an eye on the ever-increasing number of Next Gen Stats. References to rankings across the league include all games except for tonight's game between the Ravens and Raiders.
View game action photos of the Vikings before the season opener against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
1. Living on the perimeter
Joe Mixon's 127 rushing yards against the Vikings were the most in the NFL in Week 1.
Mixon recorded the fourth-fastest speed by a ball carrier, maxing out at 20.66 miles per hour on his 19-yard run.
The Bengals attacked the perimeter frequently to find a way around the Vikings interior that is now manned by Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson on early downs.
Mixon gained 92 of his yards on 21 carries outside the tackles. He totaled 35 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts inside the tackles. Interestingly, there wasn't much difference in Mixon's average on the perimeter (4.4) vs. inside the tackles (4.3), but there was definitely a commitment to get to the perimeter.
Dalvin Cook gained 50 of his 61 rushing yards outside the tackles on 16 combined carries. The Vikings had their best success with Cook running to the left (30 yards and a touchdown on six carries).
2. Unexpected YAC
The Vikings turned in two plays with the highest yards-after-catch beyond expectations, according to Next Gen Stats.
Justin Jefferson gained 19 yards after the catch during his 34-yard grab on which officials ruled him down just before the goal line. Next Gen Stats calculated that Jefferson should have gained 2 after the catch. The difference of 17 tied for the seventh-longest in Week 1.
K.J. Osborn gained 20 yards after the catch on his impressive 25-yard reception that converted a third-and-24. The second-year pro was expected to gain 4. The 16 extra yards ranked ninth-most.
3. Passing comparisons
Kirk Cousins' 351 passing yards were the third-most in Week 1, but his longest air distance on a completion (31.1 yards) was the fourth-lowest by any QB.
Joe Burrow finished with 261 passing yards, which was highlighted by a 50-yard touchdown to Ja'Marr Chase before halftime.
That pass traveled 48.2 yards through the air for the 11th longest completed air distance by a QB in Week 1. According to Next Gen Stats, the deep connection between former LSU teammates had a completion probability of 29.7 percent, making it the 17th least probable completion of the week.