The Vikings face Kyler Murray on Sunday. Then Russell Wilson. Then Baker Mayfield. Then, later on, Lamar Jackson and possibly Justin Fields not once but twice.

"I love it," said Vikings Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton.

His former team's defensive-minded head coach doesn't share the same affection for the prevalence of the maddening modern quarterback's ability to dominate key moments with a big arm, speedy legs or both.

"Sixty years ago, I was the only guy doing it," said Tarkenton, who, on Sept. 17, 1961, came off the bench to befuddle George Halas and the Chicago Bears in a 37-13 upset at Met Stadium in the Vikings' first regular-season game.

"I was a freak of nature. It was almost sacrilegious for a quarterback to run. What did I know? I was 21 years old. I played with my instincts."

The NFL's original "Scrambler," Tarkenton, 81, loves how far the mobile quarterback has evolved over the past six decades. And, yes, he absolutely loves "the little guy in Arizona" — Murray — and how he can stretch defenses 100 yards long and 53⅓ yards wide.

Of all the stellar Week 1 quarterback play, Murray's five total touchdowns — four passing — in the Cardinals' 38-13 upset victory at Tennessee was the most electric and might have been the most impressive. Now he's the Vikings headache to deal with in Arizona's home opener on Sunday.

"He's a different animal, man," Vikings co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson said. "He's not only quick, but he's unbelievably fast, and he knows it. I mean there's nobody I can compare him to."

How about Michael Vick, generally considered the fastest quarterback who's ever played?

"I think he's even different than Mike," Patterson said.

In other words, faster than Vick.

"I don't know if they've had a race or anything like that, but I said, to me, watching the tape, [Murray] looks like a video game," Patterson said. "He just looks like a different speed than everybody else."

Murray and the Cardinals faced third-and-10 from their 25-yard line in the second quarter against Tennessee. From a five-receiver set, Murray took the shotgun snap.

The Titans pressured him, being careful to set the edges to keep Murray in the pocket. It didn't work.

Murray escaped to his right, going about 10 yards before stopping. The first defender was juked. Murray then turned left and ran about 20 yards, stopping outside the numbers.

He stepped up 2 yards, juked two more defenders out of the play, stepped back 2 yards and fired a bullet to a receiver for an 18-yard gain. Ho-hum.

"You've got to be pretty disciplined in the rush lanes," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "But saying that we're going to keep him in the pocket all day is not realistic. If he gets out of the pocket, we've got to do a great job of locking on our receivers.

"I can say that we're going to keep him in the pocket all day, but I don't think that's truly going to happen."

Patterson said typically the backside defensive end can contain even a mobile quarterback by staying high enough that the quarterback can't loop around him to the outside.

"But the thing you see [Murray] do is he'll reverse field and come back, and that end stays high, [Murray] has the speed to find that seam inside that guy and take off," Patterson said. "That's the problem."

There are six gaps a quarterback can escape through on a passing play. Typically, there are only four defenders manning those gaps. The key, Patterson said, is to change things up to make Murray hesitate while searching for an open gap if he ends up running.

"Doing that," Patterson said, "gives us another chance for somebody to come up and get him."

Murray, of course, has been known to gamble a little too much on his arm. He has 25 interceptions in 33 games, but he also has 50 touchdown passes, including a risky one against the Titans that came when he rolled right and fired back across the field to a receiver just inside the back of the end zone.

"Yeah, there's some unorthodox things that he does," Zimmer said. "It looks like sometimes he might have a rollout to the left, and he'll take off and run right. It's just a feel he has for the game. So, yeah, we've got to defend 53 yards. And a third."


5. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City
Raised September record to 11-0 with comeback from being down 12 to the Browns at the half.

4. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay
His 50th career fourth-quarter comeback was a prime-time NFL kickoff classic at age 44.

3. Jameis Winston, New Orleans
Stunned the Packers and everyone else with five TDs and no picks in a 38-3 victory.

2. Matthew Stafford, L.A. Rams
Averaged 12.35 yards per completion while punishing the Bears in a 20-point victory in his L.A. debut.

1. Kyler Murray, Arizona
An electric season debut — four TD passes and one TD rushing in a blowout upset win at Tennessee — puts him in the early-season discussion for MVP. Next up: Home opener against the Vikings.