1. Four plays make Murray the star
The Vikings did a fairly decent job of keeping Kyler Murray in the pocket … and yet he still punished them with four key plays, three of which resulted in touchdowns in Arizona's 34-33 win over the Vikings at State Farm Stadium on Sunday. Danielle Hunter had three sacks and tackled Murray for no gain. Murray also threw the ball away three times while outside the pocket. A flea-flicker fizzled, too.
But Murray's 15-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins, his 77-yard touchdown to Rondale Moore and his 12-yard touchdown run off a QB draw were vintage Murray plays that make teams draft QBs like him.
Asked about Murray's touchdown run, linebacker Nick Vigil said, "The coverage we were in, there's not much you can do. We just got to see it a little faster and get to him quicker."
Good luck. Murray is the quickest player in the league.
2. Peterson has one play he'd like back
Cornerback Patrick Peterson looked good for the second straight week in large part because Bashaud Breeland continues to look not so good while being picked on at the other outside corner position.
"I don't remember many catches on him today, like last week," coach Mike Zimmer said. "He's a good pro. Glad we have him."
Peterson, who earned eight Pro Bowl berths and three first-team All-Pro honors in his 10 years with the Cardinals, said he had only one play he wanted back: the 15-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins in the corner of the end zone on third-and-10.
"D-Hop ran a dig," Peterson said. "I was squeezing top down on the dig. I have to keep my eyes on my receiver. I'm driving him and obviously he can see what the quarterback is doing. Kyler rolled out to his right, broke it off and rolled to his left and found D-hop on the scramble drill."
3. Vigil needs to work on 'toe taps'
Murray's 12-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter wouldn't have happened had Vigil gotten both feet down in bounds with a fumble recovery one play earlier. Moore lost the ball at the 2-yard line.
"The ball just kind of popped into my chest," Vigil said. "I was joking with the guys on the sideline that I have to start working on my toe taps."
Vigil's fumble recovery was reversed by replay and a holding call on A.J. Green was enforced. Vigil had his second straight standout game as a three-down backer replacing the injured Anthony Barr. He had eight tackles and the first pick-six of his career. A great read and an even better return resulted in a 38-yard touchdown that put the Vikings up 30-24 one minute into the second half.
"I just dropped to my spot [in the underneath zone] and was reading [Murray's] eyes," Vigil said. "He was staring it down."
4. Clean, crisp and penalty-free first half
The stat of the first half: Zero penalties. A week after committing 10 first-half penalties, including nine on the offense, the Vikings played a crisp first half, which is why they scored on four of six possessions as Kirk Cousins had more touchdown passes (three) than incompletions (two).
In the season-opening loss at Cincinnati, the Vikings' averaged second-and-14 on first-half second downs and third-and-20 on third downs. At Arizona, they averaged second-and-8 on second downs and had two scores in which they never reached third down. On 16 first-half first downs Sunday, the Vikings gained 158 yards for an average of 9.9 yards. That included touchdown passes of 64 and 14 yards, and four touches by Dalvin Cook that gained 11 or more yards.
The Vikings finished with three penalties for 16 yards. They had two false starts and a holding penalty on Rashod Hill.
5. Good plan for Chandler Jones
The Vikings had a good plan for game-wrecking edge rusher Chandler Jones. A week after punishing the Titans with five sacks and two forced fumbles, Jones had a relatively quiet game Sunday with no sacks, no tackles and three quarterback hits.
"I think we were very aware all week long of their pass rush," said Cousins, who was sacked only once. "Schematically, we had a plan. And I thought the offensive line did a good job."
Jones moved from side to side throughout the game. The Vikings threw a lot of quick passes and used tight ends to help set the edges (Tyler Conklin was blocking Jones on the left side on the 64-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn). Fullback C.J. Ham chipped in and even receivers were chipping Jones on their way out. Jones' best plays came when singled up against Hill. One of them was a knockdown of Cousins on an incompletion on third-and-2.