The 2022 NFL regular season returned with a bang on Sunday with plenty of exciting battles throughout the league. One of the intriguing games coming into the start of the new year was the Minnesota Vikings Week 1 battle against the Green Bay Packers in an early-season division showdown in Minnesota.
Along with the matchup being one of the NFL’s greatest rivalries, the game was also an important contest for both teams who are going to be in the hunt for the NFC North title at the end of the year.
In the end, the Vikings pulled out an impressive 23-7 victory over the Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, taking an early advantage in the postseason while also giving new head coach Kevin O’Connell his first victory leading the purple and gold.
Let’s take a look at some takeaways from the Week 1 battle for Minnesota, which looked like a new and improved squad under a new regime to start the 2022 campaign.
Three Takeaways From Minnesota Vikings Week 1 Victory
Jefferson is One of the NFL’s Best
The biggest takeaway from Minnesota’s victory in the season opener was just how dominant wide receiver Justin Jefferson was from the start. The young star wideout shined throughout the game, being the focal point of the offense throughout the entirety of the game.
Many thought Jefferson would hit the ground running in his third season in the NFL, potentially being one of the top players at his position in 2022. The new year certainly got off to a booming start for Jefferson, who proved once again he should be considered one of the league’s best receivers at the age of 23.
In the win, Jefferson finished with an eye-popping 184 receiving yards on nine catches, hauling in two touchdowns along the way. While being targeted 11 times, Jefferson recorded a game-long reception of 64 yards to lead his team to victory.
Just throw it to @JJettas2 and good things will happen. ✈️
— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2022
Jefferson has been a star within Minnesota’s offense, but with O’Connell now leading the way on the sidelines, he could become an even bigger part of the offensive unit and could only improve upon what has already been a stellar start to his professional career.
While going against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense, regardless of the wide receiving talent present on Green Bay’s roster, most defenses are faced with a tough task with the MVP quarterback leading the opposing offense.
However, the Vikings defense stepped up and shined in the game and held the Packers offense in check for most of the game. Minnesota didn’t allow Green Bay to find the endzone until the third quarter when AJ Dillon found the endzone via a rushing touchdown.
Other than that lone score, the Vikings limited Rodgers and company to just 22 pass completions for 195 yards through the air, also forcing the veteran quarterback into throwing one interception. Minnesota also got to Rodgers often, sacking him four times. In the ground game, the Vikings held the Packers rushing attack to 111 total yards on 16 carries, limiting starting running back Aaron Jones to five carries for 49 yards and one touchdown.
📍 The Quarterback
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 11, 2022
Minnesota’s defense has taken a step back a bit over the last few seasons, but that unit impressed and showed improvement right away in the new year which made things even easier for the star-filled offense opportunities to continue to thrive.
Huge Week 1 Win
While looking impressive on both sides of the ball, the Vikings not only got a win right away in the season opener but it was an even bigger victory in terms of the race for a division crown.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 12, 2022
Minnesota hasn’t won the NFC North since the 2017, with Green Bay being that team who finished atop the division the last three years. The Vikings hope to return to the top spot in the division this season, meaning the divisional victory in Week 1 was an important one to come away with.
Green Bay has been viewed as the early favorite to take first in the division this season, but Minnesota looked like the superior squad in the regular-season opener at U.S. Bank Stadium. In almost every area of the game, the purple and gold dominated the Packers. A lot can still take place over the course of the next 17 weeks of the year, but Minnesota got things off to a great start in Week 1 with a huge win over a division rival.