Two who stood out

Justin Jefferson: Three of Kirk Cousins' past four interceptions, including his first two Sunday, were thrown toward the rookie receiver, and that's an indicator of usage as much as anything. Heavily targeted receivers tend to attract more attention in coverage, and also tend to lead the league in number of interceptions intended for them, as Jefferson currently does, per Pro Football Focus. The receiver also did much of his damage once the Falcons had built their lead. But with his contested catches and his ability to run after the catch, Jefferson showed again how complete of a receiver he can become in his rookie year.

Eric Kendricks: In a year where many of his front-seven compatriots are either on other teams (Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph) or injured (Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr), Kendricks feels like he's working overtime in an attempt to keep things together. He played 80 snaps Sunday, recording 14 combined tackles and a hit on Matt Ryan.

Two trends to watch

The cornerback picture: The two rookie corners who have played the most for coach Mike Zimmer since he came to Minnesota, in terms of starts and number of snaps, are the two who started for the Vikings on Sunday. Jeff Gladney has now started five games and played 340 snaps; Cameron Dantzler has started four and played 261, surpassing Mike Hughes' 243 in 2018. The Vikings finished Sunday with three rookie cornerbacks, with Harrison Hand stepping in after Hughes injured his neck for the second time this season. The bye week could give them time to get Holton Hill and Kris Boyd healthy, but the Vikings will have to hope their rookies develop while "learning by fire," as Zimmer put it Sunday.

How the Vikings use Irv Smith: Smith played six more snaps than Kyle Rudolph (44 to 38) and has carved out a bigger role in the passing game. He was in the slot for a season-high 10 snaps on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus, and is especially likely to play more in the games where the Vikings need to throw frequently. There's a larger context to this topic, too; Rudolph is scheduled to make $9.45 million in 2021, and a cap-strapped Vikings team would save $4.35 million next year by releasing him. It would be naive not to consider the financial ramifications of Smith taking on a bigger role.

One big question

Is there a major change in store for the 2020 Vikings? After the Vikings gave new three-year deals to Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman before the start of the season, co-owner Mark Wilf cited the pair's body of work, specifically their ability to field consistently competitive teams, as the reason for the extensions. The Wilfs have been patient with Zimmer (now in his seventh season) and Spielman (in his ninth with full control of the roster and his 14th with the team overall), and they've appreciated the fact they know what to expect from the group running the team in Minnesota. The Vikings' recent change on the business side of things might mean the Wilfs are reluctant to alter anything on the football side, and a drastic change after six games would seem out of character after they committed to Spielman, Zimmer and Cousins this offseason. Firing the coach or general manager would also mean severance pay in a year where the Vikings' revenue will be down without fans in the stands, and the team's injuries have undoubtedly come up in Zimmer's and Spielman's discussions with ownership.

Ben Goessling