5 reasons for optimism as Vikings face Eagles in Week 2

·3 min read

The Minnesota Vikings are riding high after beating the rival Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon. They were confident, calculated and played a nearly flawless game in getting above .500 for the first time in nearly 1,000 days.

As the Vikings roll into Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles, there is a lot to like with this Vikings team.

Here are five reasons to be optimistic moving forward.

Kirk Cousins already looks in command

Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) prepares to throw a pass as guard Ed Ingram (67) blocks against the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings quarterback looked like a different player on Sunday. Even his decision making looked improved. Head coach Kevin O’Connell gave Cousins a lot of easy throws and reads with some built in deep shots. He was decently accurate but maneuvered the pocked better than we had seen in ages. If this continues, the Vikings have a real opportunity to go far this season.

Special teams have been really good

Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (1) celebrates his game-winning field goal during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings have had issues with their kicking game over the years but might have figured out their special teams. Ryan Wright looks really good as the new punter and Greg Joseph has been setting records for the Vikings. He has achieved a level of consistency that the Vikings have sorely missed over the last few seasons. The weather could play a small factor this Monday against Philadelphia but the unit itself has been excellent as a whole.

Justin Jefferson is unstoppable

Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) scores a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins (not pictured) against the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t a better receiver in the league than Justin Jefferson.

He is nearly impossible to guard in the open field and proved that by winning the NVP (Nickelodeon Valuable Player Award) with his huge performance against the Green Bay Packers. His silky smooth approach while being violent coming in and out of breaks separate himself from the rest of the league.

The pass rush has been great

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) celebrates with linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) after Hunter sacked Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter during their football game Sunday, September 11, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Min. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
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The key to Ed Donatell’s defense is getting pressure with 3-4 pass rushers and playing coverage on the back end. In week one, they did just that. Per PFF, the Vikings had four sacks and 18 pressures on the Packers quarterbacks. Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith were each credited with one sack and two pressures. The entire team got in on the action with no player having more than three pressures on the day. The key to this unit being it’s best self is to continue getting pressure from all angles.

Dalvin Cook is healthy

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings offense has often ran through Dalvin Cook over the last few seasons and that will be somewhat the case again this year. During week one, he looked healthy and spry which is good for this offense. His ability to hit a home run at any time and consistency in just gaining yards will make a massive difference in setting and opening up the passing game.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire