Kirk Cousins was average in on-target percentage vs Packers

On target percentage was okay for Cousins in week one

One of the best traits of quarterback Kirk Cousins is his accuracy.

He currently ranks as a top-10 passers NFL history in terms of completion percentage and does a great job giving his receivers an opportunity to catch the football.

Sometimes, completion percentage does not equate directly to accuracy. Sports Info Solutions calculates on target percentage. They classify an on-target throw as the following.

The number of times a quarterback’s throw hits the receiver in-stride, regardless of whether the pass is completed.

In week one, Cousins completed 23-of-32 for 277 yards and two touchdowns. Of those 32 throws, SIS only made 21 throws that were considered on target, ranking him as the 16th-most accurate passer of week one.

Ideally, you would like to see that number be a little higher, especially considering 11 quarterbacks are over 70%. It is also worth noting that just because it isn’t on target per SIS doesn’t mean that it isn’t a solid throw or it wasn’t a completion.

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WATCH: Justin Jefferson wins NVP and Kevin O’Connell gets slimed

Kevin O’Connell brings Slime Time Live to TCO Performance Center to celebrate Justin Jefferson’s NVP

For his performance in week one, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson won the NVP (Nickelodeon Valuable Player) award given to the best player each week. He earned the award over other finalists Patrick Mahomes and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.

In getting the award, head coach Kevin O’Connell presented Jefferson the award and had an announcement for the team

“We’re going to go in between the fields and I’m always going to be the guy that gets slimed.”

We have talked a lot in this space about it being a new era and this is just the latest example bring the old Nickelodeon show Slime Time Live to TCO Performance Center. O’Connell bonding with his players has created a different atmosphere both in the building and on the field.

Seriously, how fun is this guy?

Vikings Film Room: Ed Donatell uses creative fronts

Ed Donatell used some fun and creative pass-rushing combinations against the Packers

The Minnesota Vikings debuted their new defense last week in their 23-7 win over the Green Bay Packers and it produced great results.

They are currently tied for second in scoring defense and did a great job getting home with four pass rushers instead of feeling the need to blitz consistently.

New defensive coordinator Ed Donatell will be implementing his version of the Vic Fangio defense that prioritizes cover-2 and quarters coverage. The way to make this defense function at its peak is to get home with three to four pass rushers and drop everyone else into coverage.

One of the ways that Donatell will bring pressure is with stunts. On the first drive of the game, he dialed one up that used a lot of creativity.

The Vikings line up with seven players on or right near the line of scrimmage. What is really intriguing is how the Vikings lined up on the right side of the center.

On the edge is Dalvin Tomlinson who is the biggest player on the field for the Vikings on this play. That is really intriguing especially with Danielle Hunter and D.J. Wonnum on the inside.

The Vikings only bring four with an overload to Rodgers blindside. Tomlinson sets the edge with Wonnum stunting to the center and Hunter attacking the A gap.

They aren’t able to get home with this look but it is a great example of how Donatell will be bringing unique looks like this all season and will be sending different personnel each time to keep the offensive line guessing.

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Vikings stock watch: who is up, who is down after Week 1 win

The Vikings week one stock watch has a lot of star players

The Minnesota Vikings handily beat the Green Bay Packers 23-7 on Sunday afternoon in the Fox primetime slot.

With that win, the Vikings saw a lot of players see their stocks rise or fall. Let’s break them down in this week’s stock watch.

Stock up

Wide Receiver Justin Jefferson: Arguably the best wide receiver in the National Football League, Jefferson torched the Packers for nine receptions, 184 yards and two touchdowns getting open at will. His league-leading PFF grade of 91.1 is reflective of that.

Kirk Cousins: While his game wasn’t perfect, Cousins showed a different level of confidence about him in running the new Kevin O’Connell offense. He was calculated in his decision making, didn’t put the ball in harms way and found open receivers consistently.

Outside Linebacker Za’Darius Smith: After dealing with injuries each of the past two seasons, Smith came out like a wrecking ball against his former team. Lining up all over the defensive line, he was a force garnering  one sack and two pressures. The best play of the game came where Aaron Rodgers tried to block him and it didn’t go as planed.

Left Tackle Christian Darrisaw: After receiving praise and comparisons to Trent Williams during joint practices with the 49ers, Darrisaw had a really solid day. He showed really good power, technique and hand usage in protecting Cousins’ blindside. Darrisaw needs to work on not undersetting which allowed Gary to gain the edge but the early returns in year two are very promising.

Safety Harrison Smith: After signing a contract extension this offseason, Smith showed that he is still one of the best in the league. He was all over the field on Sunday, including intercepting a pass that ended a potential touchdown drive for the Packers before the half. Even though he is now 32 years old, Smith is still one of the best in the league.

Defensive Lineman Dalvin Tomlinson: This scheme is perfect for Tomlinson. He gets to line up as a 4i or 5T during rushing downs and slide to the inside as a pass rusher. He was dominant on the day including recovering the Rodgers fumble.

Stock Down

Cornerback Patrick Peterson: Even though he is still a servicable player at his age and experience level, Peterson getting thoroughly cooked on the first play of the season by rookie Christian Watson raised a major cause for concern moving forward.

Guard Ed Ingram: This is a complicated one, as Ingram was overall good but he showed some deficiencies in pass protection. Per PFF, in 15 true pass sets, he graded out at an abysmal 2.6. A true mover in the running game, Ingram needs to improve in pass protection but the talent and physical ability is there.

Wide Receiver K.J. Osborn: How much of his nearly invisible performance was due to Jefferson is up for debate but Osborn was almost non-existent on Sunday in catching three passes for 14 yards. With Jefferson likely to be a heavy priority moving forward for defenses, Osborn will be counted on to step up.


WATCH: Danielle Hunter defies the laws of physics with this move

Danielle Hunter isn’t human

It was great to see Danielle Hunter look like his old self in the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

After having neck surgery before the 2020 season and missing all 16 games, Hunter tore his pectoral muscle and missed most of the 2021 season. During the seven games which Hunter played, he did accrue six sacks and looked like he didn’t miss a beat.

Against the Green Bay Packers, Hunter graded out fairly well per PFF and he had one sack and two pressures. On one pass rush rep, he did something that doesn’t even seem legal by the laws on physics.

A fake rip plus a spin is just insane. As SyedSchemes makes clear in their tweet, the footwork needed to pull this off is impressive as in the athleticism to plant and spin to the inside.

Aaron Rodgers had gotten the ball out quickly to prevent Hunter from making it an impactful rush but if this is what the Vikings get all season, they are in good shape.

Aaron Rodgers came away impressed by the Vikings defense

Aaron Rodgers came away impressed with the Vikings defense

The Minnesota Vikings handily beat the Green Bay Packers by a score of 23-7 on Sunday afternoon. There were a lot of different reasons that the Vikings ended up beating the Packers but the defense was a key factor.

The Vikings defense forced two turnovers on Aaron Rodgers with a strip sack and an interception. They also had a fourth down stop at the goal line that prevented the Packers from scoring in the first half.

On his weekly appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers spoke about the defense and how successful they were.

There was no big takeaway from what Rodgers had to say but he was impressed with the Vikings defense.

“They got a good front with Z (Za’Darius Smith) and (Danielle) Hunter. They got two premier pass rushers and they got some good push up the middle. They played some different coverages on the back end, Harrison (Smith) was really flying around and there were some things we didn’t expect, leverages mostly I think on the slot for a lot of different plays. When you got a good pash rush and play coverage on the back end, that’s a good recipe for shutting a team down.”

If the Vikings can continue to perform the way that they did on Sunday, they are in for a great season.

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Week 1: How cowardly were Kirk Cousins’ checkdowns?

Welcome to our new series where we quantify each one of Kirk Cousins’ checkdowns to prove or disprove the myth that he checks down in spots he should be aggressive

There are a lot of myths surrounding Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. One that continues to perpetuate is that Cousins is the king of the checkdown.

In this new series for The Vikings Wire, we will be focusing on proving or disproving that myth.

What will we be quantifying as a checkdown? It won’t just be a short route or a screen. It will be a receiver that leaks out short that is an emergency option outside of the standard progressions.

All quarterbacks take these and Cousins is no different. Why are we looking at going through with this series? Cousins has a tendency to want everything to be perfect which can result in throwing into the flat instead of trusting his weapons down the field or waiting a split-second longer for someone to come open down field. What this series will do is quantify each checkdown based on situation, pressure and confidence.

The scale that we will be using is from 1-10 with one being the most cowardly and 10 being the perfect decision. Some of this will be a little bit subjective but most of these will be closer to white or black than being a shade of gray.

Throughout the season, we will be breaking each one down and talking about why Cousins made the decision and what he could have or should have done differently.

Justin Jefferson leads the NFL in receiving yards

Jefferson leading the league in receiving yards should come as no surprise

After a fantastic week one against the Green Bay Packers, it should come as no surprise that Justin Jefferson is atop the NFL in receiving yards.

The Vikings did a great job in working Jefferson open in a myriad of ways on Sunday. Head coach Kevin O’Connell moved him around in a few ways, including getting Jefferson lined up across from an edge rusher and having him in the backfield.

One of the more impressive plays on Sunday against the Packers was when Jefferson caught a touchdown on one of the core concepts in this offense: the wave.

Throughout the course of the season, these elements are going to continue. O’Connell did an excellent job scheming open Cooper Kupp open consistently last year and that led to him winning the triple crown.

The sky is the limit for Jefferson’s pursuit of a 2,000-yard season and it is only just the beginning.

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Vikings film room: Justin Jefferson deep crosser touchdown

We broke down Justin Jefferson’s second touchdown catch of Sunday’s game

The Minnesota Vikings offense has already seen big changes.

After not prioritizing the passing game or using motion throughout the last three years with quarterback Kirk Cousins, new head coach Kevin O’Connell came to the organization to modernize the offense and try to get the best out of Kirk Cousins and the great wide receivers on the team.

The epitome of what the Vikings are trying to do is in this play which resulted in Jefferson’s second touchdown.

The concept that the Vikings are running is called the Wave concept.

On this play, the Vikings line up in a 1X3 look in 11 personnel before Irv Smith Jr. motions to the front side.

On the snap, they go play-action to Dalvin Cook with a shallow and deep crosser on the front side with a deep crosser and a post on the backside.

The shallow crosser and outlet route by Cook are designed to draw the linebackers forward to make fitting the ball to the deep crosser easier. The backside post is meant to clear the deep safety by forcing him to stay in the middle of the field to give Jefferson room to gain yards after the catch.

The Vikings catch the Packers in cover-3 and they don’t pass off Thielen once he crosses the hash mark leaving Jefferson streaking wide open and he works his way into the end zone.

Depending on the coverage, any of the three deep routes can be the priority. It also works really well if all three of the deeper routes are covered to have two shallow routes to fall back to.

Later in the game, they ran the same concept and hit it for a nice gain. With a better throw that leads him, Jefferson has an outside shot at scoring on this play.

Concepts like this will be utilized often for the Vikings. It’s a new era and it’s exciting.

5 takeaways from the Vikings 23-7 win over the Packers

There was a lot to take away from the Vikings win over the Packers


The Minnesota Vikings coming out a 23-7 victor wasn’t a surprise but how it went down was one.

Kirk Cousins looked better than Aaron Rodgers, the defense was excellent in every facet and head coach Kevin O’Connell looked like a cagey veteran in his head coaching debut.

While there were a lot of things to look at concerning the first game of the Vikings 2022 season, we identified five takeaways that stood out from Sunday’s win over the Packers.