To get things started at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon, the Miami Dolphins won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, putting the Minnesota Vikings’ offense on the field first. Jason Sanders booted the ball away, and Ameer Abdullah took the ball to the 24-yard line to get things started. Kirk Cousins led the Minnesota offense out onto the field, and the first play saw him hand the ball to Dalvin Cook for a gain of six yards. Cousins then found Cook on a screen pass for a huge gain of 27 yards, and the Vikings were quickly into Miami territory at the 43.
Latavius Murray then came in to give Cook a breather, and picked up six yards on his first carry. Cousins then rolled out to his right and hit Adam Thielen for 16 yards and another first down. However, the Vikings were called for an ineligible man downfield on Pat Elflein to negate it. However, Cook more than made up for it on the next play, as he hit a huge hole and rambled for 26 yards to the Miami 16. After a short run by Murray, Cousins rolled out to his right once again and hit Stefon Diggs for a 13-yard touchdown! Dan Bailey connected on the extra point, and just like that it was 7-0 in favor of the home team.
Making it look easy early.#Skol pic.twitter.com/xMuGKyy3YP— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 16, 2018
The kickoff from Bailey was fielded by Kenyan Drake, and he could only get the return out to the 18-yard line. Ryan Tannehill led his offense onto the field, and on the first play found rookie tight end Mike Gesicki for a 14-yard gain and a first down. The venerable Frank Gore then got a carry for a short gain, and he was dropped for a loss on second down to bring up 3rd-and-9. Tannehill tried to get the ball to Danny Amendola, but the pass was broken up nicely by Mackensie Alexander and fell incomplete. Matt Haack punted the ball away, and Marcus Sherels got a very nice return to set the Vikings up at their own 40-yard line.
Cook got things started on the next drive with a gain of four, and the Dolphins then jumped offsides on the next play to make it 2nd-and-1. Cousins then converted with a sneak to get the ball into Miami territory at the 48. Cook then moved the chains again with a run for 11 yards, and Cousins completed a short pass to Aldrick Robinson for a gain of four. Cousins then found a wide open Tyler Conklin for a gain of 20 down to the Miami 13-yard line. Cook then capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown sprint around the left end for his first rushing touchdown of the season! Bailey hit the extra point again, and the Vikings extended their lead to 14-0 with six minutes left in the first quarter.
The post-John DeFilippo era is off to a good start— SB Nation NFL (@SBNationNFL) December 16, 2018
: @NFL pic.twitter.com/MUtrB6z4M9
Bailey kicked the ball away again, and Drake let the ball go through the end zone for a touchback. Tannehill fired incomplete for Kenny Stills on first down, and Gore was stopped for a short gain on second down to bring up another 3rd-and-9. It appeared that Tannehill found Brice Butler for a huge gain of 23 yards, but the officials ruled that Butler was the first person to touch the ball after going out of bounds, negating the pass and bringing up fourth down. Haack came in to punt again, and Sherels took the return to the Vikings’ 30-yard line.
The Vikings got a quick first down on a pass from Cousins to Diggs for 17 yards, and Murray was stopped for no gain on the ensuing first down. Murray then gained six to set up 3rd-and-4, and the Vikings converted with another easy toss from Cousins to Diggs. Cousins then hit Thielen for a gain of 14 and another first down to the Miami 21.
Murray picked up four yards on first down, and Cousins tried to hit Kyle Rudolph on second down, but Minkah Fitzpatrick was called for a hold to give the Vikings a fresh set of downs. Murray finished the drive in style on the next play, taking it in from 18 yards out for another Minnesota touchdown! Bailey was good on the extra point again, and the Vikings extended their lead to 21-0.
Tay Train Touchdown!!!— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 16, 2018
Bailey’s kickoff went for a touchback, and Gore was stopped for a short gain on first down. Gore then took the handoff on second down as well, and plowed through for 11 yards and a first down. The Dolphins finished the quarter with a pitch to Brandon Bolden that looked like it was supposed to be a trick pass play, but Bolden ran it for 12 yards and another first down. As we move to the second quarter, the Dolphins are looking at 1st-and-10 from their own 49-yard line.
It’s been all Minnesota through one quarter of play at U.S. Bank Stadium, as the Vikings hold a 21-0 lead over the Dolphins. Can they keep this up for four quarters? Let’s find out!