To open their brand new stadium, the Minnesota Vikings wanted a big time game against a big time opponent. They got one, and they cashed in on the opportunity.
Thanks to an outstanding performance by Sam Bradford, the Vikings took down the Green Bay Packers in the first regular season game at U.S. Bank Stadium by a final score of 17-14 on NBC's Sunday Night Football.
The first points were put on the board by the visitors, as Aaron Rodgers found Jordy Nelson on a 1-yard touchdown pass to make the score 7-0 in favor of Green Bay about ten minutes into the contest. The Packers got some good field position thanks to the combination of a blocked punt and a 40-yard pass interference penalty on Terence Newman.
Minnesota answered back in the second quarter, courtesy of an 8-yard pass from Sam Bradford to Kyle Rudolph for the first Vikings' touchdown in U.S. Bank Stadium history, tying the game at seven. Minnesota then took the lead late in the quarter, courtesy of a 46-yard field goal from Blair Walsh that gave Minnesota a 10-7 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter, Minnesota extended their lead to 17-7, courtesy of a very nice 25-yard touchdown toss from Bradford to Stefon Diggs. The drive was sparked by the Vikings stuffing the Packers on a fourth down play deep in Minnesota territory when Mike McCarthy passed up an opportunity to tie the game.
On that drive, Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson suffered what appeared to be a significant injury to his right legafter being tackled on a run. Peterson was unable to put any weight on the leg and he was helped off the field by the trainers. When we have more information on the injury, we'll pass it along.
Green Bay cut into the lead early in the fourth quarter, thanks to the legs. . .not the arm. . .of Aaron Rodgers. On a third-and-goal from the 10, Rodgers couldn't find anyone open, but there was nobody in the middle of the field, and Rodgers took advantage, sprinting in for a ten-yard score to make it 17-14 in favor of Minnesota. Rodgers took significant advantage of Trae Waynes on the drive, as he was in coverage on Jordy Nelson on a long pass play that put the Packers inside the Minnesota 5.
The Packers were driving again on their next possession and they needed a stop. They got one, courtesy of Brian Robison stripping Rodgers at the Minnesota 44-yard line, and Shamar Stephen jumping on the fumble for a turnover. It was the fourth fumble the Vikings had forced on the evening, but the first one they managed to fall on top of.
Minnesota could not turn the fumble into points, and Green Bay started their ensuing drive at their own 9-yard line. The Packers pushed to near the midfield stripe, but then Trae Waynes made the biggest play of his NFL career. After Rodgers had picked on him all night long, Waynes stepped in front of a pass intended for Davante Adams and came up with his first regular season interception with just 1:50 left on the clock. After a couple of run plays got stuffed, Bradford was looking for Stefon Diggs on a third down play, and the pass fell incomplete. . .but the officials called pass interference on Damarious Randall to give the Vikings a fresh set of downs. The Vikings pretty much ran out the clock from there, and escaped the first game at U.S. Bank Stadium with a 17-14 victory.
Sam Bradford had an outstanding game, considering that he was only acquired about two weeks ago. He completed 22-of-31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Stefon Diggs had a bit of a coming out party this evening, as he brought in nine catches for 186 yards and a score. Adam Thielen had four catches for 41 yards, and Kyle Rudolph chipped in with three catches for 31 yards and a score. Minnesota got next to nothing out of the running game, as Peterson had just 12 carries for 19 yards prior to his injury. Matt Asiata had 14 yards on six carries in relief late in the game.
Minnesota stymied the Green Bay defense, for the most part. Aaron Rodgers completed 20-of-36 passes for 213 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Eddie Lacy picked up 50 yards on 12 carries to lead the Packers in rushing, while Jordy Nelson led the Packers' receivers with five grabs for 73 yards and a touchdown.
The Vikings move to 2-0 and sole possession of first place in the NFC North with the victory. Next weekend holds another big test for the purple, as they travel to Charlotte to take on the defending NFC Champions, the Carolina Panthers. Green Bay falls to 1-1 and will play their home opener next weekend when they host the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.
Minnesota wins the first ever game at U.S. Bank Stadium by a final score of 17-14. Thank you to everybody that got their coverage of this week's game right here at The Daily Norseman!