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3 Stats That Stood Out: Vikings-Saints

Posted Sep 12, 2017

The Vikings defeated the Saints 29-19 on Monday Night Football to open the 2017 regular season.

It was the first Week 1 home game for Minnesota since 2012, and the Vikings improved to 3-1 in season openers under Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

The Vikings connected for several explosive gains on passes in the second quarter and closed out the game by controlling the clock in the second half.

Rookie running back Dalvin Cook and the new-look offensive line helped hammer things home in the fourth quarter.

Here are three stats that made a difference:

1. Bradford maxes out on deep throws

Sam Bradford’s box score line was 27-of-32 passing for 346 yards and three touchdowns, generating a career-best passer rating of 143.

Analytics site Pro Football Focus noted that Bradford was 5-for-5 for 130 yards with one score for a maxed-out passer rating of 158.3 on passes that traveled 20-plus yards.

PFF graded Bradford at 87.4, the highest mark awarded to any quarterback in Week 1.

2. High marks for Diggs, Thielen

Bradford’s top two targets were Adam Thielen (nine catches, 157 yards) and Stefon Diggs (seven catches, 93 yards, two touchdowns).

The 16 combined catches were on 18 combined targets for the receiving tandem.

According to PFF, Diggs generated a WR rating of 154.7 (fifth-highest in the NFL in Week 1), and Thielen’s was 118.8. PFF graded Diggs at 88.9 and Thielen at 86.8, which ranked second and third among receivers in Week 1.

3. Strong against the run

The Vikings defense limited the Saints to 60 rushing yards on 21 carries.

Former Viking Adrian Peterson’s first carry against Minnesota gained 9, but it was the longest run of the night for New Orleans, which averaged 2.55 yards per carry the rest of the way.

PFF issued a “run defense grade” of 84.3 for Everson Griffen and a mark of 79.3 for Linval Joseph.

Another stat that PFF uses is “run stop percentage,” which refers to “a tackle that constitutes a loss for the offense.” The site calculated Griffen’s run stop percentage at 22.2 percent (fifth among 4-3 DEs) and Joseph’s at 18.8 percent (fifth among DTs).