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1. Offensive line just isn't good enough

More worrisome than the offensive line's six accepted penalties was how routinely it was manhandled in Sunday's 27-24 loss at Cincinnati. Yes, the Bengals added talent up front defensively, but this is not a great defense and the Bengals haven't had a winning season at home since 2016. The Vikings couldn't even come close to developing a deep passing game with a line sporting Rashod Hill at left tackle. So we asked quarterback Kirk Cousins if he thinks he'll ever be able to develop a deep passing game with this line. "I do; I think so," he said. "I played a lot of snaps and have had all kinds of different linemen in front of me, facing all different pass rushers, and schemes I've played in. Coaches do a great job of game planning each week for what you're facing and putting all of us in position to be successful."

2. Vigil splashes in Purple debut

The knock on Anthony Barr has been splash plays, or, better yet, the lack thereof. With Barr out because of a knee injury, under-the-radar free agent signing Nick Vigil stepped in and splashed throughout the game. He had a sack in his first quarter as a Viking. Barr has 15 sacks in 87 games as a Viking. Vigil had two tackles for loss. Barr has never had more than nine in a season. Vigil is a smart player with enough experience in this defense that he relayed Mike Zimmer's calls from the sideline. Vigil had 10 tackles as a three-down backer next to Eric Kendricks (15 tackles). And it was Vigil who put the Vikings back in the game with a key stop when Bengals coach Zac Taylor made the grossly bad decision to go for it on fourth down at his own 30 while leading by 14 in the third quarter.

3. Berry's big-legged big day

If Week 1 is any indication, the Vikings made the right call bringing in former Steeler Jordan Berry to replace punter Britton Colquitt. Berry's leg strength and hang time is superior at this point in the two careers. Berry punted eight times, averaging 50.3 yards with a 43.6 net and a long of 63. Two first-quarter sacks backed the Viking up at their 2-yard line. With his heels just inside the end line, Berry fielded a shorter snap and launched a 49-yard punt that was fair caught. The Bengals went three-and-out and had to punt it back to the Vikings. The Vikings used that quick turn of events to settle down and march 91 yards in 14 plays for a 7-0 lead on Adam Thielen's 5-yard touchdown catch. In overtime, Berry crushed his 63-yarder with enough hang time that it was fair caught at the Bengals' 10-yard line.

4. Hand's highlight and Smith-Marsette's lowlight

Cameron Dantzler, a starter as a rookie last year, wasn't even active Sunday. The struggling young cornerback's fall continues because presumably he's of little to no use on special teams either. The other five corners were active. One of them, Harrison Hand, made a play in the fourth quarter that signals hope for a special teams unit that was horrendous under the since-fired Marwan Maalouf a year ago. Bengals kick returner Brandon Wilson took his only return of the day from a yard deep in the end zone. Hand dropped him at the 10-yard line for a gain of 11. The Vikings ranked last in the NFL in average starting point on kick returns (27.2) a year ago. Kicker Greg Joseph's other four kicks were touchbacks. Meanwhile, Vikings rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette failed in his only kick return. He got impatient, fielded a kick five yards deep and only got back to the 16.

5. What does McPherson do for an encore?

The Bengals needed a kicker. They drafted one in the fifth round. And all Evan McPherson did in his NFL debut was get carried off the field by teammates after a game-winning 33-yard field goal as overtime expired. Ever have that happen, Evan? "No," he said. "That was actually my first kind of walk-off field goal. It was super exciting. All of us want to succeed this season … and make a run for the Super Bowl." McPherson also bombed a 53-yarder that cleared the crossbar near the very top of the uprights. His day, of course, overshadowed journeyman Greg Joseph's outing. Suiting up for the Vikings as his sixth team in four seasons, Joseph had never played on opening day. And he hadn't kicked in a meaningful game since the 2019 postseason, when he was with Tennessee. Joseph made all three PATs and kicked a game-tying 53-yarder as the fourth quarter ended.