An incredible sequence of complementary football involving a sack by Anthony Barr on the first snap of the season, a punt block by Eric Wilson and a quick touchdown pass to Adam Thielen gave the Vikings a lead less than five minutes into the game.
Here are three stats that stood out:
1. Fast sacks
Anyone that blinked on the first snap of the season missed Barr’s blitz.
According to NextGen Stats, it took Barr 3.07 seconds to reach Atlanta QB Matt Ryan and take him down, which was the eighth-fastest sack in Week 1 (does not include the Monday Night Football doubleheader).
Barr’s time was edged out by teammate Danielle Hunter, who was clocked at 3.06 seconds for the seventh-fastest sack.
Everson Griffen also made the top 20 this week, “getting home” in 3.60 seconds, which is also impressive since it involved the longest-tenured Viking executing a spin move instead of just screaming around the edge.
Linval Joseph didn’t crack the top 20 in fastest times around the league, but he did add a fourth sack for Minnesota on the day. Joseph finished a play that was initially disrupted by Hercules Mata’afa.
2. Chef’s Trio
Speaking of speed, Cook was recorded with having three of the 20 fastest runs by a ball carrier across the league.
According to NextGen Stats, Cook’s fastest speed in Week 1 was 20.50 miles per hour, which he reached during his 19-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Cook has definitely shown the ability to hit another gear in the open field, but on Sunday, he also showed how quickly he can reach that gear. His second-fastest speed was recorded during a gain of 8 in the third quarter just before scoring his second touchdown.
His speed during a 22-yard rush in the second quarter was measured at 19.80 seconds.
View game action images as the Vikings take on the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium.
3. Keeping up with Jones
The Vikings limited Jones to 31 yards and six catches on 11 targets.
Three of the receptions and 13 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown, were totaled in the final 2:21 of the game.
Minnesota used a variety of methods against Jones that included shadowing him with Xavier Rhodes and mixing in other coverages.
Harris’s first interception was on the first pass thrown to Jones, who generated a passer rating of 52.5 for Ryan on the day.
The early days of ironman football have long since passed, but several offensive players and defensive players were on the field for every snap on their respective side of the ball.
In honor of the NFL’s 100th season, here’s a list of the offensive and defensive players who were on the field for every snap:
TE Kyle Rudolph, LT Riley Reiff, LG Pat Elflein, C Garrett Bradbury, RG Josh Kline, RT Brian O’Neill, QB Kirk Cousins
S Anthony Harris and S Harrison Smith