Minnesota Vikings answered questions in their victory over the Saints

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 11: Sam Bradford (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 11: Sam Bradford (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Do not let the final score fool you, the Minnesota Vikings steamrolled the Saints 29-19. Let’s look into what we learned.

Significant concerns for the Minnesota Vikings coming into their season opener were well documented. These included: the big play ability of the offense, the chemistry and production of the offensive line and the run defense.

In the first match-up, these three issues were resolved with strong and confident play.

Sam Bradford was beyond brilliant in the Vikings win. He outplayed Drew Brees and threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns. In the first half alone, he was 17 for 20 and 197 yards. Many of his completions were of the explosive variety to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. In all, Bradford completed eight passes of 20 yards or more. Bradford stood strong in the pocket repeatedly throughout the night and nailed passes into very tight windows.

The Vikings scored on four of five long drives from the middle of the second period to early in the fourth quarter. With these 23 points, they took the momentum and control of the contest. Diggs and Thielen worked the field masterfully throughout these drives with top end speed and precise route running.

The prime worry for fans of the Vikings to start the season was the play of the offensive line. With four new starters and no apparent continuity developed through the preseason, this issue potentially will have the biggest impact on the Vikings season. But their communication and adjustments appeared spot on, spearheaded by rookie center Pat Elflein.

For the first game, the line was the main component of the Vikings success on Monday night. They kept Bradford clean and upright providing him time and windows to hit his downfield targets. Rookie runner Dalvin Cook’s 127 yard performance was also the result of the play of the trench men.

The Vikings rush and pass defense were solid throughout the game. They surrendered only four field goals until a late and meaningless touchdown. The drives that produced the first six points were sustained by personal foul penalties on Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson. These calls were dubious at best.

More from Sporting Sota

The return of ex-Viking Adrian Peterson was a non story. He carried six times for a weak 18 yards. New Orleans gained just 60 yards on the ground with 21 carries. The Saints have had an explosive and consistently top 10 offense in the NFL for years now. For the Vikings defense to play the way they did, this augurs well for the 2017 season.

On the other side of the ball, the Saints defense has been conversely just as putrid for several years. They may have more speed now but they are still young. Perhaps this is a partial explanation for the Vikings big night. Game two is next Sunday against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. This will be a much more physical test for the Vikings.

This was a well-deserved win in game one, but Minnesota has 15 more to go against some very problematic opponents. Last year, the Vikings started 5-0 and that did not end well. Optimism is fun, but should not be reigning supreme at this point.

Next: Four things we learned in the Vikings first win

How do you think the Vikings fared in these three important aspects of the game? Let’s start the discussion.