THE MORNING AFTER: 5 Glaring observations from the Vikings Week 1 Win

posted by Aj Mansour - 

Photo: Getty Images

The season is officially underway and the Minnesota Vikings are sitting at 1-0 after a 24-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

With the first week of play we now have a game to react to, thus we bring back our "Morning After" series of posts where we highlight five of the most glaring observations from the game and what's to come of it afterwards.

So, without further adieu, here we go...

Kirk Cousins' Vikings debut looked good...but there's room to grow...

Our new expensive quarterback did what he was supposed to. His play was partially the difference in Sunday's game. It was his headiness that moved the ball through the middle of the field as the pocket was collapsing. It was his pinpoint accurate throws that resulted in touchdowns to Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph on throws that our former quarterbacks simply couldn't make. All of this and there's still plenty of room to grow and here's the thing, he was the first person to admit that. In his post game press conference Kirk was the first one to mention how many passes to Adam Thielen alone he missed out on. In general, I liked what I saw from Kirk and this offense (minus the headfirst slide), and if in theory it should only get better, I'm all for it!

Nice of the Vikings to ease Dalvin Cook back into the mix...

Dalvin Cook missed the final 12 games of the regular season in 2017 and then the playoffs and then some of the off season as well on his road to recovery from a torn ACL. He got only three carries all through the preseason and they weren't too impressive and then he was on the field for the first play of the game on Sunday against the 49ers. That first play, was a scripted play to pass to Cook and jump over that roadblock right away to allow him to knock off the mental rust and get back to playing football. Then the second play went to Cook. Then the third play went to Cook. Then the fourth play went to Cook as well. The first four plays of the 2018 season went to our running back that we all expected to slow roll back into the game. In total, Cook got 22 touches on 16 runs and 6 catches and seemingly was a shoelace away from breaking some big ones. 

Rookie kicker Daniel Carlson was perfect in professional debut...

There was a medium level of concern heading into the regular season when it comes to rookie kicker Daniel Carlson. His final year in college wasn't all that great converting only 23 or 31 field goals his senior season. But then he won the job this preseason over veteran Kai Forbath and the very week that he was named the starter, he went out and missed two field goals bringing Minnesota Vikings fans back to the nightmarish thoughts of Gary Anderson in 1998 and more recently Blair Walsh in 2015-2016. Well, it was those thoughts that had us second guessing the choice and second guessing Carlson. Yesterday though, the kid went out there and hit a 48-yard field goal also converting on 3-of-3 extra points. He also was a solid 5-for-5 on kicking touch backs on kickoffs. It was his first game indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium but it was a good test to get those nerves calmed down.

The Vikings defense looks like they're gonna be good again...

It was probably one of the things that we were the least concerned about heading into this season, but every year you never know. You don't know how players are going to age. How contract situations are going to change things. How the new guys are going to fit in. How missing "the old guys" will change the vibe. All of those factors were present yesterday for Mike Zimmer's defense, but then they went out there and proved that it should be the same old defense this year. Not only did they hold what we think is going to be a high flying 49ers offense at bay for most of the day, but they forced three interceptions and got to the quarterback for a sack three times. Sheldon Richardson dominated up the middle. Danielle got his, Everson popped up on the radar, Harrison Smith had an amazing game, even rookie Mike Hughes and veteran Trae Waynes made notable plays. All-in-all it should provide some comfort to know that the defense looks like they'll hold their own again this season, and that's a good thing.

John DeFilippo shows a little glimpse, but there's more to come...

In his first game as the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, I think the general report card on DeFilippo's offensive game plan should be a positive one.  We saw some new things but not too many of the wrinkles that could make his game special. The calls were filled with lots of passes out of the backfield, we saw an RPO or two and he kept the defense off balance most of the afternoon.

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