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5 Takeaways: Cousins, Offense Pace Vikings to 1st Win of 2021 Season

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings are in the win column after an electric return to U.S. Bank Stadium.

Led by a high-powered offense, Minnesota moved up and down the field Sunday to get a 30-17 win over Seattle in Week 3.

Down 17-7 early in the second quarter, the Vikings roared back with 23 unanswered points.

The Vikings racked up 453 yards of total offense, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 323 yards and three scores. He had a quarterback rating of 128.4 and has produced turnover-free showings in each of the Vikings first three games of the season.

Adam Thielen found the end zone for the third straight week while Justin Jefferson scored for the second game in a row. Tyler Conklin also caught a score.

Minnesota's defense had an up-and-down game but managed to finally get a win over quarterback Russell Wilson, who had won seven straight games against the Vikings.

The Vikings are now 1-2 on the season, but 1-0 at home. Sunday's win came in front of 66,729 fans as Minnesota welcomed back its home fans for the first time this season.

The Vikings remain home in Week 4 against the Browns. Kickoff is at noon (CT) Sunday.

Here are four other takeaways from Minnesota's first win of the season:

1. Vikings win 3rd down/TOP battle

The Vikings offense talked all week about being better on third downs this game. They delivered by converting on nine of 14 tries (64.3 percent).

At one point, Minnesota moved the chains on six consecutive third-down chances. The Vikings entered Sunday's game ranked 31st in the league in third-down success.

K.J. Osborn had just two catches, but made them count as both moved the chains on third downs.

The Seahawks offense was successful on three of eight third-down plays. Seattle converted its first three attempts before Minnesota stymied its offense the rest of the way.

The Vikings also won the time of possession battle by controlling the ball for 35 minutes and 53 seconds. They dominated the second half by keeping possession of the ball for 22:40.

2. Kubiak's creative play calling

Kudos to Klint Kubiak in this one. The Vikings Offensive Coordinator unveiled a diverse and entertaining game plan against the Seahawks.

One area that stood out? The middle of the field, where Jefferson and others feasted against the Seahawks.

He finished with nine catches for 118 yards, and scored another home touchdown in his career (all seven of his 2020 scores were at home, too). Jefferson also became the fastest Vikings player to reach 100 career receptions in team history.

Alexander Mattison also benefitted from Kubiak's strong day as he racked up 100-plus yards from scrimmage in place of Dalvin Cook, who missed the game with an ankle injury.

Mattison had 26 carries for 171 yards (tying his career high), but was also used through the air (primarily in the screen game). He finished with six catches for 59 yards.

Jefferson, Thielen, Conklin and Mattison each tallied at least 50 receiving yards.

3. Joseph bounces back

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer publicly backed Greg Joseph this week after the kicker's 37-yard field goal went wide right on the final play in Arizona.

Joseph rewarded his coach's faith in him with a perfect showing at home.

Joseph made all three of his field goal tries (20, 34 and 43 yards). He was also true on all three extra points after missing one last week. He has now made six of seven field goals on the year.

Punter Jordan Berry wasn't called upon much, recording just one punt for 49 yards until the final minute of the game. His second punt was 45-yard gem that went out at the 1-yard line.

4. Defense pitches 2nd-half shutout

It was a tale of two halves for the Vikings defense.

Minnesota struggled in the opening 30 minutes, allowing 17 points and 308 yards of offense to the Seahawks. At the break, Seattle was averaging 9.3 yards per play.

But Zimmer's group got it together after halftime and looked like a completely different group.

The second-half tally? The Vikings allowed just 81 yards on 19 plays and kept the Seahawks off the scoreboard.

Everson Griffen and Eric Kendricks recorded sacks of Wilson in the second half.