S or N: It Begins
The classical definition for Slobberknocker is a literal hard hit. I'm going to play off that somewhat in a more figurative manner. While in contrast, and maybe more obviously, the Naw's are things that shouldn't have happened and/or need to change.
Anthony Harris had a day unlike what we will often see, especially in the first game of the season! The contradiction is that Harris has seemingly always made an impact when inserted into the defense. How the next 15+ games go will show whether today was today was more fluke or the start of a trend. What is certain is that it was a phenomenal start for the Vikings newest starting Safety.
I'm also very curious to see how the play of the Falcons offense and the other DB's played into his game changing plays today, so check Twitter on Wednesday for the replay!
A Seminal Start
After two years of being limited by injuries and having a running mate get drafted in the third round, the Vikings may have found the heirs to the position like the team hasn't had since AP & McKinnon were the 1-2. My opinion of the day that Cook & Mattison had is inflated at least a little because I actually think that Atlanta has a good defense. Even if only for one game, though I hope not, the recipe of a heavy run game by the Purple worked like a charm. If they're able to replicate it, with more explosive passing at times, then the A1 need for the team would prove to have been fixed. For now though, it was a great start to the season by the running backs
The concern related to the Vikings Cornerback depth was widespread and well founded after events of the pre-season. That's only more true today after an unimpressive performance by basically every CB not named Rhodes or Alexander, who seems likely to miss time due to his own injury today. There hasn't been any solid reporting about how close Mike Hughes is to returning but after today I'd be shocked if the team doesn't take a looooooong look at his status at practice this week.
This may be the fourth thing on the list but the start to the game may have been the best part of the whole thing. No team is going to be able to start every game with a blocked punt but that sort of aggressiveness has been lacking for a long time. Who knows, maybe they'll ramp up the special teams even more next Sunday and try a trick play early in the game. I doubt it but a boy can dream! The larger point of starting off with those sort of bang plays should not go away. Not with the talent the team has all over the place, not with the way that the defense can suffocate the opponents plans, the Vikings need to make a point of being as aggressive as possible right out of the gate! That they were able to today should give them reason to continue looking at ways to be at Lambeau and beyond!
Gold or Pyrite?
I have been as critical of Anthony Barr as anyone over the last few years. When the team decided to re-sign him, I was not happy and was quite sure that he would take his big money & continue underachieving compared to the ceiling that he has athletically. If today is any indication of the type of season that he's going to have, well I will be proven very wrong. He was as good as he's been in a long time and was a key cog to the team having such a dynamic start to the season. It was a golden performance and hopefully the first of many this year!
The receiving game was a decided after thought today. Which, if you haven't picked up on by now was okay this week and would be okay most weeks when the running game is working like it was today. Even in a reduced touch count, Adam Thielen was able to make a serious impact for the offense. The touchdown was nice but just as important were the blocks that he seemed very will to make for the runners. In the starkest of contrast to the circus that another elite receiver has made of his employment in the NFL recently, Thielen showed that he's still all about doing whatever it takes for the team to succeed. It won't show up in the simple stat sheet but those sorts of under-the-radar plays are what allow teams to succeed to the highest level.