September 12, 2017

MNF – Vikings beat New Orleans Saints 29-19 in season opener

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

One of the bigger story lines coming in to Monday night’s game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings was the return of running back Adrian Peterson. After spending his entire career with the Vikings, he was clearly relishing the chance to play against his former team and provided lots of juicy quotes to the media about his plan to “stick it” to the Vikings. It didn’t quite work out the way he was hoping…

The Vikings’ expensively re-tooled offensive line — who didn’t play a single down together during the preseason — did a great job of protecting Sam Bradford. Right tackle Mike Remmers was responsible for one sack by Cameron Jordan, but otherwise the line largely kept the pressure away from Bradford. Without the need to constantly check down or run for his life (like most of the 2016 season), Bradford put in a very impressive performance, 27 of 32 for 346 yards and three touchdowns. The most impressive was a lightning-quick three play drive late in the first half that covered 74 yards and ended in a touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs.

Running back Dalvin Cook had a memorable debut: he broke Adrian Peterson’s rookie record for a first start by 20 yards (127 yards to Peterson’s 107). The line was much better at creating gaps for Cook than they had been last year for Peterson, McKinnon and Asiata. Cook finished the night with a strong run down the right sideline that gained 33 yards and sealed the win. New Viking Latavius Murray didn’t have an auspicious first game: he fumbled the ball on his very first carry (fortunately, the Saints didn’t recover the loose ball).

The second rookie starter came in for some praise from the TV broadcast team: centre Pat Elflein was the first rookie to start at his position in a season opener since Mick Tinglehoff in 1962, and performed well.

At halftime, former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honour, and two current receivers wore special Randy Moss cleats during the game (Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen). Diggs also got in a very Moss-like hand-wave as he broke past the coverage and into the end zone and Bradford delivered the strike. Both receivers had great game stats, Diggs with seven receptions for 93 yards with two TDs and Thielen with nine catches for 157 yards.

Adrian Peterson now has to share the carries with two other New Orleans running backs, and clearly didn’t enjoy being the second or third back on the team. He ended up with only six carries for a total of 18 yards, and at one point was shown on the sideline apparently yelling at his new head coach. Not the revenge game I’m sure he was hoping for.

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