After the first quarter of the Week 3 matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, it looked like it was going to be a long, ugly afternoon for fans of the purple and gold. However, rather than getting boat raced as they may have done in past years, the team galvanized and made a battle out of it against a team that is thought to be one of the NFL's best.
In the end, however, it wasn't enough, as the Saints managed to hold off the Vikings for a victory that moved both teams to 1-2 on the season.
The Saints met almost no resistance from the Vikings defense early on, as they drove for touchdowns on their first two possessions. A 1-yard run by Pierre Thomas and a 34-yard pass from Drew Brees to Josh Hill made the score 13-0 before the first quarter was over.
In the second quarter, the Vikings lost starting quarterback Matt Cassel to a foot injury after he went down awkwardly on a quarterback scramble. After the first of Blair Walsh's three field goals, the Vikings turned to rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Yes, it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for the purple.
However, the Vikings galvanized behind their rookie quarterback, and the defense put the clamps on the Saints' high-flying offense after that, holding them scoreless through the second and third quarters of play. Three field goals from Blair Walsh cut the score to 13-9, and it looked like the Vikings had another stop before what wound up being the turning point of the ball game.
On a third down play, the combination of Captain Munnerlyn and Robert Blanton got to Brees in the backfield for what appeared to be a huge loss that would have forced the Saints to punt. However, Munnerlyn was called for unnecessary roughness. . .a really, really questionable call (to put it charitably). . .that gave the Saints new life. The Saints cashed in, as Brees found Marques Colston for an 18-yard score to make the score 20-9.
(The officials apparently had no problem with Brees throwing a few punches after the sack by Munnerlyn, because Drew Brees, I guess.)
That pretty much ended the game, as the Saints held on to the ball for the final six-plus minutes of the game and held on for the victory.
Bridgewater had a fairly impressive debut, all things considered. He completed 12-of-20 passes for 150 yards. Unfortunately, he could not lead the Vikings to a touchdown during his time on the field. He didn't get a whole lot of help from the running game, as Matt Asiata gained just 35 yards on 12 carries. Bridgewater was the team's second-leading rusher with 27 yards. Greg Jennings led the Vikings in receiving with five catches for 70 yards. Cordarrelle Patterson chipped in 61 yards on four grabs.
The Vikings fall to 1-2 on the season, and have the Atlanta Falcons coming to TCF Bank Stadium next Sunday.
We'll have more on this game coming shortly. Thank you to everyone that hung out with us and got all of your coverage from The Daily Norseman for today's contest.