Home-field advantage can be a strange thing.
For instance, the Vikings could not pack U.S. Bank Stadium last season. Whether that played a huge factor or not, Minnesota went 3-5 at home in a year where the team missed the postseason.
In the Vikings’ 2021 home opener against the Seahawks, maybe it was the crowd, or the lack of travel or the team just played better on Sunday after two close losses.
Whatever it was, it worked.
The Vikings’ got their first regular season win of 2021. The crowd noise at U.S. Bank Stadium was good, and for the first time in a while, the team looked good, too.
Final score: Vikings 30, Seahawks 17
Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) celebrates a touchdown during the second quarter against Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Keys to the game:
Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws the ball during the first quarter against Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota's retooled defense does enough: The Vikings defense proved why people thought it would be good heading into the year. Minnesota held Seattle to just 17 points. Russell Wilson, one of the best quarterbacks in the league, had a down game for him: 298 passing yards and one touchdown pass. The Vikings defense got timely turnovers and the Minnesota offense outpaced Seattle.
No Dalvin, no problem: Vikings RB Dalvin Cook was ruled out for the game, but Minnesota's offense was still good. Alexander Mattison stepped up in relief of Cook, going for 112 rushing yards.
You like that? Kirk Cousins had another big game in 2021. This one may have been his best performance yet.
Stars of the game:
Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Minneapolis, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. The Vikings defeated the Seahawks 30-17. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
*** QB Kirk Cousins: He threw for 323 passing yards and three touchdown passes. ** RB Alexander Mattison: Mattison ran for 112 rushing yards in relief of the injured Cook. * LB Eric Kendricks: Kendricks had 11 tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
It was over when...
Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings free safety Harrison Smith (22) before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
On fourth down, Wilson heaved a ball into the end zone, intended for Penny Hart. Instead, Harrison Smith was able to force the incompletion. He almost came down the the pick, but it didn't matter: the Seahawks turned the ball over on downs, and barring the absurd, Minnesota had put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter.
Oct 18, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski looks at his play chart a during the second quarter gainst the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings are back at home against the Browns on Sunday at noon.