Christian Darrisaw felt "pure excitement and joy" as he suited up for his first NFL start.
The 2021 first-round pick could add a dab of pride to that mix after helping Minnesota rack up 571 yards in a 34-28 overtime victory at Carolina.
Minnesota rushed 36 times for 198 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and did not allow a sack on a day that Kirk Cousins executed 50 dropbacks (he attempted 48 passes including one spike to stop the clock and scrambled twice).
Darrisaw debuted on offense in Week 5 against Detroit and built on those snaps Sunday.
"It's overcoming a lot of things and just finally being here in this moment and just to get a win in my first start definitely made it [special] — as an offensive unit, we came out there and dominated the whole day. We had like 570-something total offensive yards, third most in Vikings history. To be able to go out there and accomplish that, having Dalvin [Cook] back and giving Kirk time in the pocket to do what he does, it was a great day."
Cook rushed 29 times for 140 yards, highlighted by his extra effort on a 16-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that helped Minnesota reclaim the lead (18-17).
Two plays earlier, Darrisaw and left guard Ezra Cleveland helped clear the way for C.J. Ham on a third-and-1. Ham got a lot more than a first down, when the fullback returned to his roots as a running back and juked a defender on the way to a career-long, 30-yard run.
"Just like juice," Darrisaw said when asked what a run like that by a fullback did for the offensive line. "We knew that play was coming right behind us. We had the big block, the most important block on the field, moving that 3-tech out the way, and we got it done. Seeing him make that cut, he almost scored if he'd have had one more block, but it was definitely just excitement. We were just juiced up after that, like, 'Let's go.' "
Darrisaw's first college start occurred as a true freshman against Brian Burns and Florida State in 2018. His first NFL start also involved blocking Burns, the 16th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft by Carolina.
"Man, it's crazy. It was like, maybe this was meant to be or something like that," Darrisaw said. "Just like going back to college, when I didn't even know who Brian Burns was until like the day of the game. He was like one of the top defensive ends in the nation, and now we're here in the NFL, and that's who I'm getting my first start against. I gave up a sack against him in college, and I just had that in my mind, like, 'No sacks this week. I'm going to have him on lockdown.' "
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Darrisaw played "really well" in his first start.
"Burns is a good pass rusher," Zimmer said. "He did a nice job there. He got beat once, I think, in a pass protection. There was one play he was supposed to do something he didn't do. But other than that, I thought he played very well. He's very athletic."