NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A trio of returns sparked the Vikings in their return to regular-season football on Sunday.
After Minnesota was shut out in the opening half at Tennessee, Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 61 yards to the Titans 34-yard line. It was the third-longest kickoff return in a Week 1 game in Vikings history and set up Blair Walsh for a 50-yard field goal for Minnesota's first points of 2016.
The Vikings defense held the Titans without points for more than 29 minutes of the second half in a 25-16 win.
Eric Kendricks gave the Vikings a 12-10 lead when he stepped in front of a pass by Marcus Mariota and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown. It was the first career interception by Kendricks, the sixth-longest by a Vikings linebacker in team history and the longest in the NFL on Kickoff Weekend since an 81-yard interception return touchdown by Vikings safety Harrison Smith in September 2014.
Kendricks did not play in the preseason but adjusted well in his return to action, finishing with six tackles.
Danielle Hunter scooped up a fumbled exchange between Mariota and DeMarco Murray and sprinted 24 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 22-10 lead with 11:11 to go.
In the first half, the Titans capped a 73-yard drive with a short pass to Murray who dived over a tackle attempt by Terence Newman and into the end zone. The 6-yard touchdown gave the Titans a 10-0 lead with 41 seconds left in the first half.
The Vikings allowed a 29-yard gain on a short pass to Derrick Henry, but rallied in the red zone to force a field goal by Ryan Succop with 4:45 left in the first quarter. Kendricks recorded a tackle for loss to force third-and-long.
Minnesota turned in the impressive defensive performance in the second half to help the offense build rhythm.
Shaun Hill, a 15-year veteran who first joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2002, made his first start with the franchise more than 5,200 days later. Hill rejoined the Vikings last season to backup Teddy Bridgewater, who is out for the season with a dislocated knee.
Hill finished 18-of-33 passing for 236 yards and a passer rating of 77.3, moving the chains at critical times with completions to Stefon Diggs (seven total receptions for 103), Kyle Rudolph (four for 65) and Adam Thielen (four for 54 yards).
Adrian Peterson was limited to 31 yards on 19 carries but moved ahead of Fred Taylor for 16th all-time.
Trae Waynes started in place of Xavier Rhodes and led the Vikings with 10 tackles.
View images from the Vikings Week 1 matchup in Nashville against the Titans.