Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Complementary Football Key for Vikings Week 1 Victory Over Falcons

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium.

MINNEAPOLIS – Offense, defense and special teams.

All three aspects worked in unison during the Vikings 28-12 defeat of the Falcons on Sunday to open the 2019 season.

From the first play of the game, when Anthony Barr sacked Falcons QB Matt Ryan for a loss of 8, to a blocked punt by Eric Wilson, a pair of picks by Anthony Harris and seven explosive plays offensively, all three phases played off of each other throughout the afternoon.


Watch Saturday's Game Online

Start 7-day your free trial of NFL Game Pass today and watch back Saturday's game against the 49ers...

"That's one of our captains," running back Dalvin Cook said of Barr's takedown. "To see him go out there and make a play like that, we wanted to go on the field as fast as we could."

The Vikings forced the Falcons to go three-and-out on their first possession. And when Matt Bosher swung through for the punt, Wilson was right there.

Wilson credited fellow linebacker Kentrell Brothers for helping clear the way.

"We moved around a little bit. They might have got confused a little bit, and we got off the rock. It was clear as day. I took it right off his foot," Wilson said.

Minnesota's offense took over at the Atlanta 21-yard line, and Adam Thielen found the end zone three plays later to put the Vikings up 7-0.

"Especially early in the game, it's amazing. Not only for us on special teams, but as a whole team, to put our offense in a position to score," Wilson said. "That's what we talk about all the time. Flipping field possession and getting another possession some way, somehow. We did that on special teams and on defense."

The Vikings essentially scored all 28 of their points by capitalizing on turnovers.

In addition to the blocked punt, safety Anthony Harris grabbed two interceptions and also recovered a fumble.

Harris said the win showed what the 2019 Vikings can be when they play team football.

"Starting out and setting the tone and getting that block, it was definitely big," Harris said. "It sparked everybody, sparked the offense, and they were able to punch it in. And then as a defense, everything was setting up how we wanted, and we put the pressure on."

"It was just good team football. Everybody trying to execute their jobs at a high level," Harris continued. "You see guys pressuring the quarterback, getting sacks and trying to get in Ryan's face and make him make tough decisions. Then when the defense gets off the field, special teams out there hungry, getting the block, and the offense running the ball."

Tight end Kyle Rudolph said it was "huge" to take advantage of a hot start.

"No lead is safe against that team with the explosiveness that they have on offense, so it was important for us to not get comfortable with a 14-point lead and continue to build on it and build on it," Rudolph said. "To then get out to 28-nothing is pretty impressive when it's a good team."

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins certainly agreed that the matchup was a picture of complementary football but added that it was "an over-the-top example" considering the number of flashy plays across the board.

Not every game will yield a blocked punt, sack and an explosive run, Cousins reminded.

"They all just came together today," he said.

Cousins further explained:

"Complementary football also means when the punt isn't blocked and the sack doesn't happen, still finding a way to make the plays and pick one another up, and if a game calls for us to win in the 50s, to be able to do that too. You've got to play the game that's called, and today was a unique one."

Nose tackle Linval Joseph spoke with media members following the game and said that, while film review will show mistakes that can be corrected, it was encouraging to see the team firing on all cylinders.

"We started off with a fire underneath us. Offense, defense and special teams. We started off really good. Things we've got to work on now are penalties and little mental errors."

Added Joseph: "I have a feeling that we can be a really good team this year."