(WVUE) - All preseason we kept hearing how improved the Saints defense appeared to be. Well the main word in that sentence, preseason. In the first game of the regular season, the Black and Gold defense left Minnesota black and blue. The unit surrendered three touchdown passes to Sam Bradford, falling to 0-1 in 2017, with a 29-19 loss.
Much of the talk pregame centered around the return of Adrian Peterson to Minnesota. The future Hall-of-Famer handled the first carry of the game, and finished the contest with 18 yards on six carries. Fans will remember his showing more for what happened off the field then on it. ESPN cameras caught Peterson getting into an argument with head coach Sean Payton entering the third quarter.
The Vikings defense held Drew Brees without a touchdown most of the night, but finally relented with a Coby Fleener 8-yard touchdown with little time left in the game. The 12-year Saint ended 27-of-37 passing, for 291 yards.
His counterpart, Sam Bradford, lit up the Saints "D" at U.S. Bank Stadium. The former Oklahoma Sooner racked up 340 yards, on 27-of-32 passing. One of his favorite targets in the contest, Stefon Diggs, hauled in two touchdowns, 93 yards receiving.
The Saints actually held the lead for a small period of time, after a Wil Lutz 21-yard field goal made it 6-3.
The lead didn't last long...at all. Minnesota went 76 yards in only three plays, taking a 10-6 lead, on a Bradford to Diggs 16-yard touchdown. Cornerback Devante Harris lost Diggs in coverage, giving the receiver an easy score. Diggs wasn't done in the second quarter, beating Harris again for a score, this time from two yards out. After a missed extra point, Vikings led 16-6 at half.
The torching of the Saints secondary continued in the second half. Bradford found Kyle Rudolph for 15-yard touchdown, extending the Vikes lead to 26-9.