News

Print
RSS

Early Look: Vikings at Steelers

Posted Sep 13, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings started the 2017 season with a bang as they earned a 29-19 win over New Orleans featuring contributions from both sides of the ball.

Minnesota’s offense racked up 470 total yards of offense while the Vikings defense mainly limited the Saints offense to field goals instead of touchdowns.

The Vikings now have a short week before preparing to face the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are also 1-0 after getting a Week 1 win at Cleveland.

Here’s an early look at Sunday’s game:

Passing: Quarterback Sam Bradford played perhaps the best game of his NFL career on Monday night, as he completed 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Bradford also set a career high with a passer rating of 143.0, and completed six passes that went for 25-plus yards.

The former No. 1 overall pick is in his second season with the Vikings after being acquired in a trade just before the 2016 season.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 263 yards with two touchdowns and had a passer rating of 95.0 in Sunday’s win over Cleveland.

Roethlisberger ranks ninth all-time in both passing yards (47,077) and passing touchdowns (303).

Rushing: Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook had an impressive NFL debut by rushing for 127 yards on 22 carries. Cook, who had a long run of 33 yards, also had a 32-yard gain against the Saints.

Cook set Florida State’s all-time rushing record with 4,464 yards and also tallied a school-best 46 rushing touchdowns.

Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon had 11 combined rushing yards.

Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell had 32 yards on 10 carries Sunday. Bell is one of the game’s most versatile backs who had 1,268 rushing yards and 75 receptions in 12 games in 2016.

Receiving: The Vikings duo Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen put on a show Monday night.

Diggs had seven catches for 93 yards and two scores, becoming the first Vikings wide receiver to have two touchdowns in a Week 1 game since Randy Moss in 2004. Thielen consistently moved the chains with nine catches for 157 yards.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph had a touchdown catch, and McKinnon had 32 yards receiving.

Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown had 11 catches for 182 yards on Sunday. Brown was one of the NFL’s top receivers in 2016, catching 106 passes for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Steelers tight end Jesse James had six catches for 41 yards and two scores against the Browns.

Defense: Minnesota’s defense was superb in the red zone against the Saints, limiting New Orleans to just one touchdown on five trips inside the 20-yard line. 

The unit also held Drew Brees to under 300 yards passing, and Everson Griffen sacked Brees once.

The Vikings ranked third in yards allowed per game (314.9) and sixth in points allowed per game (19.2) in 2016.

The Steelers limited Cleveland to just 237 yards of total offense on Sunday. Rookie T.J. Watt had 2.0 sacks and an interception in his NFL debut.

Pittsburgh ranked 10th in points allowed per game (20.4) in 2016.

Special Teams: McKinnon averaged 27 yards per kickoff return Monday.  Punter Ryan Quigley was needed just twice and averaged 43.5 yards per attempt.

Kicker Kai Forbath made all three field goal tries but missed an extra point.

Pittsburgh’s first touchdown of the season came via special teams. The Steelers blocked a Browns punt and recovered it in the end zone Sunday.

Punter Jordan Berry averaged 45.8 yards per punt. Kicker Chris Boswell did not attempt a field goal.

Over The Years

The Vikings are 9-8 all-time against Pittsburgh, a series that includes a Super Bowl matchup. Minnesota lost 16-6 against the Steelers in Super Bowl IX.

The Vikings haven’t played in Pittsburgh since the 2009 season.

Last meeting: Vikings 34, Steelers 27, Sept. 29, 2013, in London

The Vikings and Steelers put on a shootout across the pond back in 2013.

Minnesota notched its first win of the season (and kept the Steelers winless) by racking up 393 yards of total offense. 

The Vikings led by a touchdown in the waning seconds as Pittsburgh had the ball inside Minnesota’s 10-yard line, but Griffen sealed the game with a strip-sack of Roethlisberger that was recovered by Kevin Williams.

Jared Allen had 2.5 sacks for the Vikings while Sharrif Floyd had 0.5 sacks and Griffen and Chad Greenway had 1.0 apiece. Greenway also had an interception in the win.

Minnesota grabbed an early 10-0 lead behind a 70-yard touchdown strike from Matt Cassel to Greg Jennings. Adrian Peterson later added a 60-yard touchdown run as the Vikings led 20-10 at halftime.

Peterson ran for another touchdown, and Jennings caught his second score of the game to put Minnesota up 34-17 entering the fourth quarter.

Peterson ran for 140 yards and two scores, and Jerome Simpson had 124 receiving yards in the win.