CANTON, Ohio — Audie Cole delivered a thump, and MyCole Pruitt and Stefon Diggs delivered thrills for the Vikings in a 14-3 win against the Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
Cole started at middle linebacker for the Vikings but delivered his biggest hit on the first play of the second quarter, popping the ball loose from Steelers receiver C.J. Goodwin to turn a third-down conversion into a turnover. Antone Exum, Jr. recovered the football and returned it 32 yards.
Minnesota's drive stalled, however, when a pass from Mike Kafka to Cordarrelle Patterson was knocked down. A 48-yard field goal attempt by Blair Walsh went wide right.
The teams swapped punts, and the Vikings forced a field goal, before answering with a touchdown drive that was extended by a pair of third-down catches by Adam Thielen.
Pruitt didn't have to worry about contact. The rookie was wide open and smoothly glided into the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown from Mike Kafka.
Diggs, who was picked three spots after Pruitt in the fifth round of this year's draft, made several people miss on a 62-yard punt return before he was forced out just shy of the goal line. Joe Banyard scored a play later with a "Bus-like" 1-yard run a day after Vikings legendary center Mick Tingelhoff and former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis were enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Notes: Teddy Bridgewater rejoined the Vikings after a family matter and started the game. He went 5-for-6 for 44 yards and a passer rating of 97.2. He also alertly spotted room to run for a 6-yard gain. Bridgewater was replaced by Mike Kafka, and Taylor Heinicke played the second half. … The Vikings started Jerick McKinnon at running back and followed with Matt Asiata, who had an 18-yard gain. … First-round pick Trae Waynes was on the opening kick-off coverage team and in on Minnesota's third defensive snap of the game. The Vikings improved to 3-1 in Hall of Fame Games and to 5-0 in the preseason under Head Coach Mike Zimmer. Minnesota hosts Tampa Bay Saturday.