The Minnesota Vikings opened up their 2017 football season on Monday night, and started it off with a performance all Vikings fans hoped for. In a 29-19 dismantling of the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings demonstrated not only that the power of their defense was intact, but that their offense has a chance to be just as potent.
1st Down: Sam Bradford showed his ability to move the football all night. After only a field goal in the first quarter, Bradford led the Vikings to double digit points in two quarter, 13 points in the second quarter and 10 in the fourth. Bradford connected on 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Captain Checkdown had a quarterback rating of 143.0 and a QBR of 95.2 in his 2017 debut.
2nd Down: On the receiving end of this Bradford throw, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs came to play on Monday night, the same night Vikings legendary wide receiver Randy Moss was inducted into the Ring of Honor. Thielen led the team in receptions and yards totally nine receptions for 157 yards on 10 targets. Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs did the scoring for the duo, as he took in two touchdowns, while catching seven passes for 93 yards. The final touchdown pass was caught by the ever-reliable Kyle Rudolph.
3rd Down: As the Vikings flourished in the air, the ground game succeeded as well. Rookie running back Dalvin Cook had 22 carries, and with former Vikings star Adrian Peterson watching from the other sideline, he rushed for 127 yards, good for an average of 5.8 yards per carry. For comparison's sake, in Peterson's debut, he rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries, or 5.42 yards per carry, but he also got 60 yards on one reception that he took to the house for a touchdown. Offseason addition Latavius Murray carried the ball only two times for six yards.
4th Down: Lastly, the Vikings defense finished this victory. Peterson in his first trip back to Minnesota was limited to 18 yards on six carries. As a team, New Orleans could only muster 60 yards on the ground. In the air, the Vikings limited Drew Brees to an inefficient 291 yards, as he went 27/37 with only one touchdown pass, with that coming in garbage time in the fourth quarter. The Vikings up until that touchdown with 1:56 left, only allowed field goals, as they consistently got stops throughout the game. Trae Waynes led the way with 11 tackles, while Anthony Barr had eight with 1.5 tackles for a loss, and Everson Griffen collected 1.5 tackles for a loss as well as the only sack of the game for Minnesota.
The Vikings head to Pittsburgh for their Week Two matchup. They play the Steelers at noon on Sunday, September 17.