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Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints: Third Quarter Open Thread

Sean Gardner

The second quarter started with the Minnesota Vikings in the New Orleans Saints' red zone, looking at a 2nd-and-5 from the New Orleans 17. The Vikings got a quick first down thanks to a hold penalty on safety Kenny Vaccaro, but the drive stalled inside the Saints' 10. Blair Walsh came in and knocked home a 25-yard field goal to cut the New Orleans lead to 13-3.

On the final offensive play of the drive, Matt Cassel scrambled for five yards, and looked like he twisted an ankle or a knee on the play. He was pretty clearly in pain as he went to the Vikings' sideline before the Walsh field goal. He eventually got carted off the field for x-rays.

On the last few plays of that drive, Matt Kalil got absolutely destroyed by everyone that was lined up against him. Cassel had a couple of issues, but it can't help to know he's going to get crushed from the back side on every snap.

The Vikings did manage to get a three-and-out of the next drive, and thus began the Teddy Bridgewater Era for the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings took over from the 37-yard line, and Cordarrelle Patterson took a big loss on the first play from scrimmage. Bridgewater then found Greg Jennings for his first NFL completion, and then hit Matt Asiata on a checkdown that the big man plowed all the way to the Saints' 19-yard line, a 41-yard gain. Bridgewater converted on a quarterback draw to give the Vikings first-and-goal at the 7. The drive stalled out again, however. . .thanks in no small part to Matt Kalil getting bulldozed again. . .and the Vikings had to settle for another Blair Walsh field goal. Walsh connected from 30, and the score was cut to 13-6.

The Saints started the next drive from the 20, and after getting one first down, the Saints were stopped on a big 3rd-and-1 hit from Harrison Smith on Pierre Thomas. The Saints punted away, and the Vikings started from their own 27-yard line after a decent return from Marcus Sherels.

Bridgewater got the next drive started with a 15-yard scramble, but misfired on a couple of passes intended for fellow rookie Jerick McKinnon, and the Vikings were forced to punt. The punt from Jeff Locke was fair caught at the 20, and that's where the Saints took over just before the two-minute warning.

The Saints got the ball to midfield in short order, but the Vikings' defense stiffened up, including a near interception by Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr's first NFL sack. The Saints had to punt the ball away, and the Vikings went conservative to close out the half, knowing that they were getting the ball coming out of the locker room.

Bridgewater finished the first half 3-of-5 for 46 yards. Cassel went 5-of-10 for 53 yards before his injury, and he has now been ruled out for the rest of the game with turf toe. Bridgewater is also the team's leading rusher, with 26 yards on three carries. Matt Asiata has 23 yards on seven carries for the Vikings so far. Matt Asiata is the team's leading receiver with 36 yards, thanks to the big catch-and-run. (He lost yardage on two other receptions.) Cordarrelle Patterson has just two touches thus far on offense. . .a seven-yard loss on a run and a 28-yard reception.

The Minnesota Vikings trail the New Orleans Saints at halftime by a score of 13-6 in a game that started out looking like it was going to be a whole lot worse. Can the Vikings sustain their newfound defensive momentum in the second half? Can Teddy Bridgewater continue to look poised when thrown into the fire? Hang out here with us and find out!