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Lunch Break, 8/10: Starters Shine In Debut

In the first NFL game played since the Super Bowl and the first of five preseason games for the Vikings, the starters did about exactly what you'd want them to. The first teamers did their duty – moved the ball on offense and stopped the Steelers while on defense – in the very limited time.

Mark Craig of the Star Tribune writes about the lid lifter for the 2015 NFL season and highlights the Vikings sharpness in the contest:

The defense opened with a three-and-out and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater moved the ball crisply as the Vikings' first-team units began the long preseason schedule with a brief but not-too-bad showing in Sunday's 14-3 victory over the Steelers, sans Ben Roethlisberger, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Rookie Stefon Diggs also turned more heads and made a pitch to unseat incumbent punt returner Marcus Sherels when he took a 57-yard punt 62 yards to the Pittsburgh 1-yard line, setting up a Joe Banyard touchdown run to finish the scoring late in the third quarter.

"I thought our team looked fast and physical," coach Mike Zimmer said. "We still got a long ways to go. I don't like having 10 guys on the field goal and some penalties on our young corner [Trae Waynes]. But for the first day out, it's probably a decent performance."

*However, Blair Walsh did miss a 48-yard field-goal attempt, and Waynes, the rookie first-round draft pick, was flagged three times and beaten deep once during a rough — but not unexpectedly so — NFL debut. *

*Both starting units played only one series as a group before turning things over to the backups. *

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The No. 1 defense, which played with Gerald Hodges starting for injured strong-side linebacker Anthony Barr (knee), limited the Steelers to 3 net yards on the opening series. Of course, we should keep in mind that it came against quarterback Landry Jones and without Antonio Brown at receiver.

Bridgewater, meanwhile, completed five of six passes for 44 yards and two first downs. His only incompletion came on a short rollout pass that was low and too far behind Mike Wallace, who got his hands on the ball but couldn't hang on.

Leading up to the next preseason contest on Saturday, August 15 vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings will travel back to Mankato for practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before rounding out their time at Minnesota State University.

Quick Hitters

  • Two Vikings rookies – MyCole Pruitt and Stefon Diggs – who've received plenty of hype from training camp practices showcased their abilities under the lights as Vikings.com Craig Peters writes here.
  • Via Ben Goessling of ESPN – Plenty for Trae Waynes to learn from Sunday's preseason opener.
  • From one national writer in attendance at last night's HOF game – NFL.com's Michael Silver writes about the return of football and a brief conversation with Adrian Peterson here.
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