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Minnesota Vikings: Sam Bradford & the defense excelled in Week 1

15 September 2017

He is capable of incredible accuracy and poise under pressure, and delivered some of the passes of the season on Monday night against the Saints. They had high hopes entering the season with their new and "improved" defense. On this play, Jerick McKinnon could have driven a truck through the hole that was opened up by rookie center Pat Elflein (and FB CJ Ham).

In the case of the run game, it needs a lot of work.

The Vikings got out of the game against New Orleans last week with no major injuries and a lot of momentum. He ate up the middle of their offensive line, shutting down middle run plays early in the game, which forced the Saints to look elsewhere to get the ball to their running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Bradford finished 27 of 32 passing for 346 yards and three touchdowns. In the run game, the Saints managed just 60 yards (nine of which came on the first play of the game), largely due to the efforts of DE Everson Griffen and DT Linval Joseph. Tuesday, head coach Sean Payton said looking at the game on video, "it was not a good tape".

New Orleans also struggled in two areas that they normally excel in: third down conversions and red zone offense. However, they only converted four of 11 third downs on Monday night. The Vikings moved the ball at lightning speed as two of their three touchdown drives happened in less than two minutes. A touchdown there and the game likely would've taken a much different turn. They already lack any real depth at offensive tackle, and Strief's replacement, Senio Kelemete, has limited experience there.

But keep in mind, this was an O-line with rookie tackle Ryan Ramzcyk in place of pro-bowl caliber Left Tackle Terron Armstead. Ingram has 96 catches in the last two seasons, allowing quarterback Drew Brees to have another weapon coming out of the backfield. Over the last three seasons, they have given up the most points in the NFL. He burned backers Manti Te'o and AJ Klein on big plays down the middle.

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New Orleans has a very young and inexperienced secondary, and this was glaringly obvious on Monday night.

SLINGING SAMMY: Bradford set the National Football League record for completion percentage last season, his accuracy aided by the volume of short passes under frequently heavy pressure, but with protection from the rush he showed again he can throw the ball down the field with the best of them.

"They took a chance on me, bringing me into this organization, so it's important for me to come out here and compete for those guys", Cook said.

Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe, who along with several other players were on hand at one of the Bridge Over Troubled Waters facilities in Brighton yesterday to put the finishing touches on a playground provided by the team and the National Football League, said the defense will be ready on Sunday for a Saints offense that's much more prolific at putting the ball in the end zone. Jordan hasn't missed a game in five years and has played in over 90 percent of all plays.

But, much of it dissipated quickly in a 29-19 Saints loss at Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings: Sam Bradford & the defense excelled in Week 1