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What a Week One
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor
Johnnie Phillips, editor, sports, Steele County Times

After all of the build-up, expectations and finger-crossing, Vikings fans can finally breathe easy as Minnesota escaped Week One of the NFL season with a 23-7 win over the Packers.

For the most part, they were whom we expected them to be – albeit the defense played to levels that greatly exceeded my expectations.

Harrison Smith’s interception gave us flashbacks of his seasons past, while Justin Jefferson’s nine receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns brought back memories of Randy Moss being an unstoppable force on the perimeter.

Long story short: It was fun to watch.

Minnesota now takes a crucial 1-0 record into Week Two riding the confidence it needs to step into Philadelphia next Monday against an Eagles team that knows how to defend home turf.

The Eagles are famous for the chaotic environment that they provide visiting teams, and along with a rebuilt offense and defense featuring a young core of talented players, this team could offer problems for the Vikings.

However, if one thing from Week One is certain as the Vikings approach their looming Monday Night matchup, it’s that Kevin O’Connell knows how to game plan properly.

O’Connell was able to connect with a one-two combination straight to the jaw of the Packers' defense by deploying a balanced offense of 32 passes and 28 rushing attempts that kept Green Bay guessing all game.

Long gone are the days of strictly power-I formation runs and smash-mouth football.

O’Connell has proven that play-action passes and allowing Kirk to use the threat of the rush to continue being one of the league’s most efficient passers is the wave of the future in Minnesota.

While I can’t argue with previous takes from seasons past that Cousins is still overpaid for a team that has so much talent, it’s hard to argue that this is not the Cousins that Vikings management saw as being a possible franchise quarterback.

Week One was undoubtedly high stakes, but when it came time to put the chips in the middle, O’Connell made sure he played a winning hand with his strategy.

Now, all that can be said to Vikings fans is to enjoy the win, but be ready to double down on Monday.

One win does not define a season, but it sure does feel pretty good.

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