NEW ORLEANS — The Vikings first-team offense looked sharp on its one and only touchdown drive Friday night, going 81 yards in an efficient eight plays.
But what might have made the sequence even more impressive is that Minnesota was called for holding on the first snap of the game, pushing the Vikings back to a first-and-20 at their own 14-yard line.
After the 34-25 win, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he was generally pleased with his team's performance — except for the number of yellow flags that hit the turf at the Superdome.
"We've got to do a better job with the penalties, obviously," Zimmer said. "We got way, way too many penalties.
The Vikings were marked for 13 penalties for 136 total yards, and there were additional penalties that were declined.
Minnesota had sacks by Jalyn Holmes and Ifeadi Odenigbo wiped out due to defensive calls, while Vikings offensive players were called for holding five times.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said he was glad the penalties came during the run of play rather than before the snap.
"Lot of positives; the only negative I'd think would be the penalties. Most of the penalties were post-snap, and we always talk about pre-snap penalties as being the ones we really have to eliminate," Cousins said. "The post-snap penalties are ones you can live with because guys are playing fast and playing hard.
"In the preseason, you tend to have a lot of penalties called for whatever reason, I don't know why that is," Cousins added. "We'll clean that up. Overall, it was a really good start."
New Orleans was called for eight fouls for 73 yards.
Both Zimmer and Saints Head Coach Sean Payton also challenged — and lost — pass interference calls Friday night, the first introduction to the offseason rule change.
"That was a bad challenge," Zimmer said of his attempt in the first quarter. "That was, one of the coaches yelled, on that play guys are typically blocking downfield, so I heard him say that, and I didn't see the replay, and I threw it out there.
"Then when I looked at the replay, I said, 'That wasn't very good,' " Zimmer added. "But I wanted to challenge a couple others tonight, but I didn't really get an opportunity to."
View images as the Vikings take on the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on Friday night.
Zimmer routinely preaches that he wants his team to be smart and disciplined. Minnesota didn't meet his standards in an opening win in the preseason.
"They heard it at halftime, and they're gonna hear it again … on Sunday," Zimmer said. "A lot. And they'll hear it Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday. We need to clean that up.
"We had pass interference penalties, we had holding on the defensive line, we had holding on the offensive line," Zimmer added. "I mean, it was not good. We need to clean that up if we're going to be a good football team."