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Hill Shows Confidence, Poise in 1st Start With Vikings

Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill has learned a thing or two during his 15 seasons in the NFL, the first of which is that mistake-free football usually wins games. 

The 36-year-old veteran made his first career start with Minnesota on Sunday and displayed steadiness in a 25-16 win over Tennessee.

Hill completed 18 of 33 passes for 236 yards and no interceptions in the victory, his 35th career start.

"We all understand what it takes to win in this league," Hill said. "I understand how this team is built having gone through a year with this team and seeing how our wins happened last year.

"There's certainly a way to win in this league and a way to lose," he added. "Coach [Mike] Zimmer does a great job or preaching how to win (and) teaching how to win."

Hill got the starting nod over Sam Bradford, who was acquired in a trade last weekend after Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Hill first entered the NFL with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2002. Minnesota became the fourth team he's started a game for, but the gap from when he first arrived in Minnesota and his first start lasted 5,257 days.

Hill noted he prepared all week to be the starter, following a mindset he's carried since first entering the league.

"I prepare every week as if I'm playing," Hill said. "I started that back when I was a third-stringer here in 2002 because I knew that when an opportunity came about, I didn't want to have to change what I did, how I prepared or anything like that."

The veteran, now in his 15th season, spread the ball around to six different teammates. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs had seven catches for 103 yards, and tight end Kyle Rudolph and wide receiver Adam Thielen each had four catches for at least 50 yards.

Five of Hill's completions moved the chains for the Vikings on third down. He found Diggs and Rudolph twice on third down, and Thielen made a diving catch to keep a drive alive.

"Those guys made big plays, some tough catches," Hill said. "They got open and they were great for me today.

"Those were huge plays to continue drives," he added. 

Hill helped lead the Vikings to a season-opening win while staying clean, as the offensive line did not allow a sack.

He also stayed calm on a day when Minnesota trailed 10-0 at the half — and the Vikings rushing attack had just 65 yards.

"I thought Shaun did well," Zimmer said. "One of the things I told him going into the ball game was, 'You don't have to be anybody else. You just have to be good enough to win.'

"Take care of the football, make the right plays, and I thought he did good," he added.

Said Diggs: "He never got too high, never got too low. I'm just happy he's playing at a high level but I expect that from him."

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