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Vikings Top Saints 29-19 to Open 2017 Season

Posted Sep 11, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings paid tribute to Randy Moss multiple ways on Monday.

There were videos, and a ceremony at halftime inducting the legendary receiver into the team’s Ring of Honor during halftime.

Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen even donned cleats that paid homage to everyone’s favorite “Straight Cash, Homie,” before using their hands, legs and feet for explosive gains.

Sam Bradford targeted Diggs and Thielen a total of 18 times, resulting in 16 combined catches for 250 yards. Diggs also caught two touchdowns, becoming the first Viking to do so in a season opener since Moss in 2004 (a 35-17 win over Dallas).

Click here to rewatch the Vikings victory on NFL Gamepass

Bradford was 27-of-32 passing for 346 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His passer rating of 143 was a career high.

Thielen finished with 157 yards picking up where he left off with Bradford late last season for his fourth career game with more than 100 yards, and Diggs totaled 93 yards.

Bradford added a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph early in the fourth quarter.

The Vikings defense limited the Saints to 4-of-11 on third-down conversions and kept New Orleans out of the end zone until less than two minutes remained.

Rookie running back Dalvin Cook broke free for a pair of long runs late and finished with 22 carries for 127 yards with a long of 33.

The Vikings limited the Saints to 60 rushing yards. Adrian Peterson had 18 yards on six carries against his former team. Alvin Kamara rushed seven times for 18 yards, and Mark Ingram rushed six times for 17 yards. 

Moss became the second person to sound the Gjallarhorn more than once, joining Hall of Fame Head Coach Bud Grant.

The Vikings improved to 3-1 in season openers under Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

Here are highlights from the first half:

The Vikings won the coin toss and deferred, and the Saints opened with consecutive carries to Peterson, who was playing his first game against the Vikings.

Peterson gained 9 on his first touch, moving the pile, but Tom Johnson and Eric Kendricks stopped him for a gain of 1 on the next play.

Drew Brees connected with Mark Ingram for a gain of 18 on the drive, but the possession stalled when Kendricks pressured the pocket and drew a holding penalty. Wil Lutz was good from 43 yards for a 3-0 lead with 8:21 remaining.

The Vikings answered the Saints long drive with a 14-play, 78-yard drive that lasted 7:20 and ended with a 24-yard field goal by Kai Forbath. New Orleans was flagged for unnecessary roughness twice in a three-snap sequence, but Minnesota also converted three third downs.

After swapping a pair of punts, New Orleans added a 21-yard field goal by Lutz on a drive that was extended when Tom Johnson was called for unnecessary roughness while tackling Brees. The penalty negated a sack for Johnson against his former team.

The Vikings response was fast and furious. Bradford connected with Thielen for a gain of 35, with Jarius Wright for 21 and with Diggs for an 18-yard touchdown. Three plays, 74 yards, 1:18 and Minnesota’s first lead of 2017.

Anthony Barr ended the Saints next drive with a 6-yard tackle for loss of Alvin Kamara after a short pass from Brees, who was pressured by Danielle Hunter.

The Vikings got the ball back at their own 5-yard line with 1:43 left in the first half and mashed the gas after Cook converted a third-and-1 with a 10-yard run. Bradford found Thielen for 44 two plays later and added a 20-yarder to Diggs before drilling a throw that Diggs somehow speared for a 2-yard touchdown with three seconds left for a 16-6 halftime lead.