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MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings have talked about Teddy Bridgewater opening it up this offseason, and he responded Sunday in the opening football game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The third-year pro was close to flawless but saved his best for a critical scenario in the two-minute drill. Bridgewater led a 78-yard drive in just 70 seconds to give the Vikings a lead they didn't relinquish in a 23-10 win over the Chargers in front of Minnesota home-game-record crowd of 66,143.
After being sacked for a loss of 1 at the Minnesota 32, Bridgewater drove the ball and the Vikings down the field with three pristine passes. The first produced a gain of 19 to Charles Johnson, the second hit Stefon Diggs in stride near the right sideline after a gain of 22 and then lofted one down the middle over Chargers linebacker Manti Te'o to the ready hands of Kyle Rudolph.
The 27-yard touchdown was the Vikings first trip to the end zone and gave Minnesota a two-point lead with 1:18 left in the first half. Bridgewater finished 12-of-16 passing for 161 yards for a passer rating of 127.3 in his first action since the Vikings opened the preseason against the Bengals on Aug. 12.
Bridgewater connected with Stefon Diggs five times for 71 yards and with Rudolph three times for 56 yards. Bridgewater also showed nifty juke moves during a gain of 22 to convert a third down with a scramble.
Jerick McKinnon started in place of Adrian Peterson for the third straight preseason game and rushed eight times for 56 yards, including a 35-yard gain on the first run play in stadium history.
On defense, Harrison Smith recorded the first tackle and the first interception by a Vikings player in the new venue. Smith corralled a ball that was deflected by Trae Waynes, who started in place of Xavier Rhodes.
Smith's interception was the first of four turnovers forced by the Vikings defense.
Justin Trattou forced a fumble during a sack of Kellen Clemens on San Diego's opening drive of the second half to give Minnesota the ball deep in Chargers territory.
Shaun Hill completed an 11-yard pass to MyCole Pruitt, but the tight end fumbled as he was tackled near the goal line. Cordarrelle Patterson scooped up the football in the end zone, and Hill followed with a 2-point conversion pass to Laquon Treadwell for a 20-10 lead.
Jayron Kearse and Mackensie Alexander, former college teammates at Clemson, each recorded interceptions in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory. Kearse and Alexander also had picks against Cincinnati in the preseason opener.
The Vikings improved to 11-1 in preseason games under Head Coach Mike Zimmer.
View images from the third preseason game of 2016 as the Vikings took on the Chargers.