While we’re all still pretty happy after the Minnesota Vikings’ 28-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons to start the 2019 season, I’d like to get back into something that we’ve done in the past but have recently gotten away from. Yes, it’s time for you, our readers, to determine who gets the first “game ball” of the season for our favorite football team.
When you win a game in the fashion that the Vikings did on Sunday, there are no shortage of candidates that this prestigious award could be given to. However, in my opinion, there were three that stood out above the rest. (Some weeks there may be more, some weeks there may be less.) So, let’s roll them out here.
Dalvin Cook, RB - There was a reason why the Vikings were able to win by two scores (in a game that wasn’t that close) in a game where their quarterback threw just ten passes. That reason. . .with a huge assist from the offensive line. . .was #33. Cook was a force from the start, as his first two carries went for 40 yards and a score (along with a 13-yarder that was wiped out by a penalty). He finished with 111 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, and though the long runs may have disappeared in the second half, he still played a big role in the Vikings controlling the ball as they ran things out to preserve the win.
As we’ve said many times before, this offense is just different with Dalvin Cook on the field, and we got a good look at that on Sunday.
Anthony Harris, S - On a defense filled with superstars, it was the unheralded. . .outside of Minnesota, anyway. . .Harris that made the biggest impact on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Falcons turned the ball over three times on Sunday afternoon, and Harris was directly involved in all three of them. He intercepted Matt Ryan twice, including a big one on the end zone, and alertly fell on a fumble that was forced by Trae Waynes as the Falcons were getting close to the red zone. All three of the Falcons’ turnovers were converted into Minnesota touchdowns, and any time you play a role in three touchdowns, you had a hell of an afternoon.
Danielle Hunter, DE - Part of the reason that Harris was able to grab those two interceptions was because, on both of those dropbacks, Matt Ryan was afraid that #99 was about to inflict serious bodily harm upon his person. In addition to collecting his first sack of the 2019 season, Hunter. . .by the count of Arif Hasan (and PFF). . .lived in the Atlanta backfield, racking up ten quarterback pressures. The Vikings’ defense has always started with the pressure up front, and along with the four sacks they collected, they never allowed Ryan to get comfortable.
So, who’s your pick for the Game Ball for Week 1 for the Vikings?
Who should receive the "Game Ball" for the Vikings in their Week 1 victory over Atlanta?
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