1. Smith’s stop was turning point

The turning point in Sunday’s 25-16 win over the Titans came with Tennessee leading 10-3 early in the third quarter. Cordarrelle Patterson had returned the second-half kickoff 61 yards, but the Vikings moved the ball only 2 yards before settling for a field goal. On the ensuing possession, the Titans had third-and-1 at their 29-yard line. They had converted five of eight third downs at that point and handed the ball to 6-3, 247-pound rookie back Derrick Henry. “He’s a big dude,” said 6-2, 214-pound Vikings safety Harrison Smith. “He’s like a bigger CP [Patterson].” No problem. Smith, in one of the many roles that made him the league’s highest-paid safety when he signed his extension this offseason, knifed in off the left side of the defense, went low and stopped Henry for no gain. It was the first time the Titans went three-and-out. “Just kind of playing football,” Smith said. “Reading run and playing fast. … I read run and reacted. It sounds simple, but that sums it up.”

2. Waynes gets one Sharpe WR

Apparently, when it comes to receivers, the fifth round is the new first round. Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, the 146th overall pick in 2015, and Titans receiver Tajae Sharpe, the 140th pick this year, led their teams in receiving and combined for 14 catches for 179 yards. Meanwhile, Vikings rookie first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell was a healthy scratch in his first NFL game. Trae Waynes, last year’s first-round draft pick, did start at cornerback after Xavier Rhodes injured his knee stretching Sunday morning. It was Waynes who got the brunt of Sharpe’s NFL debut. Six of Sharpe’s catches and 64 of his 76 yards — including an 8-yard catch on third-and-8 — came against Waynes, who had some tight coverage but didn’t finish. “He’s a good receiver,” Waynes said. “They had some good throws and catches. I just got to work to get the ball out when it comes.”

3. Thielen’s catch helps save Walsh

The Vikings’ best offensive play of the day came on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Vikings led by less than a field goal, 12-10, because of a missed PAT and the maddening saga of kicker Blair Walsh’s midrange mental block. Facing third-and-15 from his own 26, quarterback Shaun Hill spotted man coverage on Adam Thielen. “I kind of felt he was going to me because we ran that same play before and had a catch with it,” Thielen said. “I think [offensive coordinator Norv Turner] had a lot of trust with it.” Thielen got open slightly and Hill made a nice throw for a 16-yard gain that led to a field goal and a five-point lead. “When you get man coverage, you just got to beat the man over the top of you,” Thielen said. “Shaun threw a good ball, and I had to go and get it.”

4. Run game woes continue

The most disappointing part of Sunday’s game, by far, was Adrian Peterson’s 1.6-yard average on 19 carries. With fresh legs and a revamped offensive line with a more aggressive mentality, Peterson started the season with a 1-yard carry on the team’s first snap. He would carry the ball eight times on first down and net only 11 yards. Overall, Peterson lost yardage on four carries and had 2 or fewer yards on 12 of his 19 carries. “One of the things people don’t realize about [Titans defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau’s [3-4 defense] is how tough it’s always been against the run,” Turner said last week. “It has all those blitzes, but those outside backers are hard to block in the run game.”

5. Griffen in red-zone coverage?

Everson Griffen is the second-best player on the team and perhaps its most versatile athlete. But should the team’s best pass rusher be covering running back DeMarco Murray 14 yards downfield on third-and-10 in the red zone? That scenario led to a 14-yard catch and set up a 6-yard touchdown pass to Murray to give the Titans a 10-0 lead right before the half. But part of being an exotic, unpredictable defense is doing the exotically unexpected. “You’ve got to rob Peter to pay Paul sometimes,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “He was in good coverage. [Murray] made a good catch.”