By Harry Colbert, Jr., Managing Editor
With one major exception, the Minnesota Vikings struck all the right cords in the team’s first ever regular season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
With a late fourth quarter interception of Aaron Rogers by cornerback Trae Waynes, the Viking sealed the deal, capping an event-filled day with a 17-14 victory over the arch rival Green Bay Packers. And while it was a defensive play that sealed the win, the offensive play of Sam Bradford and
was the big story.
Diggs, in just his second year, and Bradford, in his first game ever as a Minnesota Viking, connected in the fashion of Daunte Culpepper to Randy Moss; hooking up nine times for 182 yards. In a spectacular debut, Bradford completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns – one to tight end Kyle Rudolph and one to Diggs on a great throw and catch. But as Diggs was hauling in the ball from Bradford a few eyes may have missed they play as they were watching future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson being helped into the locker room with an injury to his right knee. The injury came in the third quarter and Peterson – who only mustered up 19 rushing yards – did not return. After the game in the locker room Peterson was observed on crutches and in a full leg brace. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Peterson’s injury doesn’t appear to be one that will cost the running back much time to heal.
“He (Peterson) might miss a week, I don’t know yet,” said Zimmer, saying the injury had “calmed down.”
Other than the injury to Peterson and the looming long term outcome, U.S. Bank Stadium couldn’t have had a more perfect regular season debut. The nationally-televised Sunday night game brought out a record 66,813 fans, who in addition to the win were treated to sights of former Viking greats Cris Carter, Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller and legendary head coach Bud Grant and a Minnesota Orchestra visually stunning halftime performance featuring the Steeles – complete with a video tribute to Prince, whose “Let’s Go Crazy” was played following each of the Vikings’ touchdowns. And if Sunday’s game is any indication, opposing offenses will have one heck of a time communicating at U.S. Bank Stadium, as the decibel level rose beyond dangerous on numerous occasions.
While the connection of Bradford to Diggs put points on the board, it was the Vikings defense that largely kept the Packers from doing the same. Rogers was under pressure most of the game and was sacked five times, though the Vikings secondary was at times overmatched on long throws downfield, with Waynes and Terence Newman each collecting a couple of pass interference calls – both of Newman’s on one drive and both in the end zone. The Packers eventually scored on that drive on a rollout pass from Rogers to wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
The Vikings improved to 2-0 on the season. The next home game comes Oct. 3 as the New York Giants come to town.