We’ve hit halftime in New Orleans, and the Minnesota Vikings are leading the New Orleans Saints by a score of 14-12.
The Vikings’ first drive got off to a bit of a rough start, thanks to a holding penalty on Rashod Hill on the first play from scrimmage. However, the Vikings overcame it thanks, in part to the legs. . .yes, the legs. . .of Kirk Cousins.
Kirk has wheels, like he kept promising us pic.twitter.com/pnUSdRoCgD— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) August 10, 2019
Cousins then did things a bit more conventionally later on in the drive, as he lofted a deep pass for Adam Thielen, and Adam Thielen did what Adam Thielen does.
Kirk Cousins deep to Adam Thielen, giving us the explosive offense they hoped to bring. Great adjustment by Thielen pic.twitter.com/RCfgSpsmIt— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) August 10, 2019
The play was, initially, ruled a touchdown, but after review Thielen was determined to be down inside the 1-yard line. The Vikings cashed in on the next play, though, with Cousins helping a rookie to get their first NFL touchdown with a 1-yard pass to Alexander Mattison.
Alexander Mattison TD, 1 yard reception. Vikings have been running a lot of play-action to target the near pylon in goal line drills in camp. pic.twitter.com/v7CgyjlZ8N— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) August 10, 2019
That gave the Vikings an early 7-0 lead, and that was it for the first team offense. Cousins went 4-of-4 on the drive for 65 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Rudolph had a pair of catches for 30 yards as well.
The Saints made their way down the field on their first possession behind Teddy Bridgewater, and appeared to have a 3-yard touchdown run from Alvin Kamara, but it was negated by a holding penalty on Zach Line. The Saints couldn’t overcome the penalty, and had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Will Lutz to make the score 7-3.
The Sean Mannion-led second-team offense went three-and-out on their first possession, and a penalty on Matt Wile’s punt had the Saints start out inside their own 10-yard line. The Saints moved the ball into Vikings territory again, and after a couple of penalties helped the Saints out, the Vikings finally got a sack that stuck, courtesy of Hercules Mata’afa.
3-technique race is very interesting. Hercules Mata'afa gets this sack with excellent hand usage and power. After that, draws an offensive holding penalty, then gets the tackle in the run game pic.twitter.com/sGs6QygKrP— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) August 10, 2019
That stalled the Saints’ drive, and they called on Lutz for another field goal attempt. He was good from 52 yards out, making the score 7-6 in favor of Minnesota.
The Vikings’ third drive started with another holding penalty on Hill, but Sean Mannion and Tyler Conklin made up for it in a big way.
Stumblin, Rumblin, Gronklin pic.twitter.com/KgAiCPC7br— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) August 10, 2019
Then rookie wide receiver Olabisi Johnson (but you can call him Bisi) got going, getting a pair of catches. The first one was good for 17, and the second found him in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown!
@BisiJohnson1 goes and gets it! #Skol pic.twitter.com/bifKZrBubX— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 10, 2019
The Saints went three-and-out on their next possession, with the drive ending on a sack by Jalyn Holmes that actually counted.
Jalyn Holmes gets another sack, though this time it counts, on a stunt. Generated pressure on the prior play, too pic.twitter.com/00cCqPj48q— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) August 10, 2019
After the punt, the Vikings found themselves in Saints territory once again thanks to a big play by Ameer Abdullah. His 42-yard run on a draw play put the Vikings at the New Orleans 15-yard line at the two-minute warning. Unfortunately, as Abdullah giveth, he also taketh away, as he fumbled the ball a couple of plays later, and it was recovered by the Saints to end the drive.
Bridgewater then pushed the Saints down the field, courtesy of a long pass and a roughing the passer penalty on Mata’afa. A couple of plays later, he found Dan Arnold for a touchdown pass of 18 yards. The Saints went for two and were unsuccessful, and that’s how we got to our 14-12 halftime score.
The first team offense looked outstanding, and some bit players have gotten some solid looks, too. Dalvin Cook did not carry the ball at all, but rookie Alexander Mattison carried the ball nine times for 30 yards, and had the 1-yard touchdown reception to end the first drive. Bisi Johnson had two catches for 35 yards and a touchdown, and Conklin tied Thielen for the longest Vikings’ play thus far with his 34-yard catch. Mannion, in his backup quarterback role, went 7-of-12 for 101 yards and a touchdown.
The Saints will get the ball to start the second half, with the Vikings in the lead by a score of 14-12. Come on in and join us for the second half of play from New Orleans, folks!