Vikings, Cook stampede past Saints

Sam Bradford

Punter Ryan Quigley had a great game for a first game and Kai Forbath, minus the extra point miss, came through nicely.

Three of the Vikings' biggest plays came on confounding mistakes by the Saints.

It's also worth noting that while Dalvin Cook was the story of the night, if you took away his two big 4th quarter runs he would only have had 62 yards on 20 carries (3.1 ypc). With only just 4 carries for 14 yards in one half of action, Peterson chose to vent his frustration of wanting to be more active in the offense. His offensive line, which struggled previous year, gave him plenty of time to execute, and it showed with his 84.4% completion percentage, 346 passing yards, and three touchdowns.

For the Vikings, Cook gashed the New Orleans defense for 127 yards on 22 carries.

That's a Minnesota record for a rookie debut, breaking Peterson's previous record of 103 yards. But even if all is well with Peterson and his coach, let's take one more look at the fierce expression on Peterson's face. Will Lutz made four field goals, three under 25 yards.

Monday night might have provided the best games of NFL's Week 1. Is Sam Bradford really a long-term answer under center?

"They did a great job opening up holes, pass blocking for Sam, and making sure that the playmakers could make plays, " Cook said. Any time a player can catch 90% of the passes thrown their way, pick up yards after the catch, and accumulate 157 receiving yards, you know you have a reliable, capable, and explosive part of a high-powered offense. He also found Kyle Rudolph for a score.

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On the play above, the Saints send a cornerback and defensive end both at left tackle Riley Reiff, who forces the corner wide, giving him no shot at Bradford.

The Vikings who follow the spreads probably have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder heading into this one. The Saints don't rush the passer well, and the Vikings play good defense. The defense was superb and didn't allow a touchdown until the game was well into garbage time, while Bradford maintained his accuracy from last season while employing a more expansive playbook. Drew Brees shed some light on what it's like to match wits with Bill Belichick. The sack would've gotten the defense off the field, but instead the Saints got a first down.

While the Giants got some pressure, overall they struggled to bring Prescott down. Throughout the game, Shurmur toyed with different personnel groupings in formations.

Here's the thing about Alice's takeaway: It's completely opposite the experience of Vikings fans who traveled to New Orleans a few years ago for the NFC Championship game.

The Saints were hurt by poor execution on third down, allowing Minnesota to turn 9-of-14 third downs into first downs and Minnesota twice scored touchdowns on third-down plays. Peterson finished with just 18 yards rushing and only saw the field for nine snaps. "You see Kamara out of the backfield more than Peterson for example".

Then, two days after the preseason finale, the Vikings shook up the line even more by releasing veteran left guard Alex Boone and replacing him with third-year man Nick Easton, who had started five games last season at center but never an National Football League regular-season game at guard. And that means less playing time for Peterson.

Throughout the week leading up to this game, I predicted that 1st down success rate would decide the game. The next test is Sunday at Pittsburgh, which won't be easy.

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