Sunday Night Football at U.S. Bank Stadium got underway with the Minnesota Vikings winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half. That meant that Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints’ offense would get to take the field first. The kickoff from Dan Bailey was fielded by Taysom Hill, who brought the ball out of the end zone and was stopped at the 20-yard line to set up the first drive for the visitors.
Mike Zimmer got to throw the challenge flag early, as a catch by Michael Thomas on the game’s first third down was called a completion, and Zimmer challenged the play as it appeared he may have gone out of bounds. The call of a catch was upheld, and the Saints picked up a first down to their own 47-yard line.
The Saints then inserted Taysom Hill at quarterback, and he immediately went deep for Thomas, who beat Harrison Smith and made the catch down at the 8-yard line to set up a first-and-goal for New Orleans. That quickly became third-and-goal, and they found their way into the end zone on a little flip from Brees to Alvin Kamara, who dove in for a score. Will Lutz connected on the extra point, and the visiting team was quickly on top by a score of 7-0.
The kickoff from Lutz was fielded by Roc Thomas, and thanks to a penalty by the Vikings, the home team took over at their own 9-yard line. Kirk Cousins got things started with a pass to Adam Thielen for 13 yards and a first down, and Latavius Murray followed that up with a nice run for six yards. Cousins then had a pass knocked down, but the Saints were called for illegal contact to give the Vikings five free yards and a fresh set of downs. Mike Remmers was then flagged for a holding penalty of his own, moving things back to a 1st-and-20.
Murray got a nice chunk of that back, pick up 12 on first down to make things more manageable. Murray then picked up the first down with a nine-yard run and suddenly the Vikings were near midfield. Roc Thomas then ran for a short loss on first down, and Cousins hit Rudolph to set up a 3rd-and-5 for the Vikings at the Saints’ 49. Cousins then found Thielen for another ridiculous catch, picking up 14 and a first down for Minnesota.
Cousins picked up a bad snap and ran for a short gain, and then hit Stefon Diggs all the way down to the 1-yard line! It then appeared that Cousins found Kyle Rudolph for a 1-yard touchdown, but it was ruled that Rudolph had gone out of bounds and didn’t re-establish himself before the catch. Cousins then threw one incomplete on third down, and the offense stayed on the field for fourth down. Cousins took the shotgun snap, rolled to his left, and hit Stefon Diggs right on the left sideline for a 1-yard touchdown! Dan Bailey drilled the extra point, and we were tied at 7-7.
Something about Diggs on the sideline against the Saints .... pic.twitter.com/vaeEkUoSOQ— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) October 29, 2018
Bailey booted the ball away again, and Taysom Hill stayed in the end zone this time for a touchback, giving Brees and company the ball at their own 25. Linval Joseph flattened Alvin Kamara on a screen on the first play for a nice loss, and Jayron Kearse stopped Kamara on second down to set up third and long. The Saints couldn’t get to the sticks on third down, and Thomas Morstead came on for his first punt of the night. Marcus Sherels fielded the punt, and was stopped at the Minnesota 20-yard line.
Thielen showed he could get it done on the ground, too, as he took a jet sweep for 15 yards and a first down on the first play of the drive. As we move to the second quarter of play, the Vikings are looking at 2nd-and-9 from their own 36-yard line.
After one quarter of play at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings and the Saints are tied at 7-7. Come on in and join us for the second quarter of play!