To get things started at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, meaning that the New Orleans Saints were set to get the football first. The kickoff from Kai Forbath was taken by Alvin Kamara in the end zone for a touchback, giving Drew Brees and company the start from their own 25.
Mark Ingram had a nice gain on first down for the Saints, but Drew Brees then threw two straight incompletions to make it a three-and-out for New Orleans. Thomas Morstead came in to punt it away, and Marcus Sherels got a very nice return to the Minnesota 45-yard line.
Latavius Murray got the first two touches for the Vikings, gaining a combined nine yards to set up a 3rd-and-1 for the Vikings. Murray then pounded it into the line and just barely picked up a first down to move the chains. Murray then caught a short pass and Jerick McKinnon got a carry to bring up a 3rd-and-3. Keenum then got his first big completion of the game, finding Jarius Wright on a beautiful throw for 22 yards to the New Orleans 15. After another handoff to Murray, McKinnon took a pitch from Keenum on second down and strolled around the left side of the defense for a 14-yard touchdown run. Kai Forbath added the extra point, and the Vikings had an early 7-0 lead.
The kickoff from Forbath went for another touchback, giving the Saints the start at the 25 once again. The Saints finally picked up a first down on an end-around run by Ted Ginn. That was all they could manage, though, as Brees’ attempt on third down fell incomplete. Morstead came on to punt again, and his punt went into the end zone for a touchback.
Keenum and company took over at their own 20-yard line for their second possession. The Vikings were forced into a third down, but Keenum hit Stefon Diggs on a short crosser that Diggs turned into a 17-yard gain. Keenum then went deep for Laquon Treadwell, and Ken Crawley got flagged for pass interference to give the Vikings a nice gain into Saints’ territory. Crawley then got called for PI again, this time covering Stefon Diggs, and the Vikings suddenly had first-and-goal at the New Orleans’ 6. Murray then took the ball down to the 2, but Keenum couldn’t connect with Kyle Rudolph on third-and-goal. In came Forbath, and he connected from 20 yards out to extend the Minnesota lead to 10-0.
Forbath’s next kickoff was a bit shorter, and Kamara gave it a go on the return, but Jayron Kearse dragged him down at the New Orleans’ 19-yard line. Again, the Saints had a third down to stare down, as they had a 3rd-and-1 from the 28. Ingram got the handoff and was stopped well short of the mark, so the Saints punted again. Morstead’s punt was taken by Sherels at the Minnesota 35.
Unfortunately, the Vikings had their first three-and-out of the afternoon, as a short pass to McKinnon was stopped short on a nice play by Crawley. Ryan Quigley came in for the first time this afternoon, and the punt was fair caught by Tommylee Lewis at the New Orleans 15.
On the Saints’ first play from scrimmage, Brees was looking deep for Lewis, but instead found Andrew Sendejo, who laid out nicely for a huge interception! That gave the Vikings the ball at their own 42 after the takeaway. As we move to the second quarter, the Vikings are looking at 1st-and-10 after Keenum found Adam Thielen for a 16-yard gain.
After fifteen minutes of action at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings lead the New Orleans Saints by a score of 10-0. Come on in and join us for the second quarter of play!