Sam Bradford dominated to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 29-19 win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFL on Monday.
Bradford, who set a single-season completion record last season, was nearly flawless in the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium, host of Super Bowl LII.
The former number one overall pick was 27-of-32 passing for 346 yards and three touchdowns as the Vikings spoiled Adrian Peterson's return to Minnesota.
Bradford looked more like Drew Brees in the pocket, leading the Vikings on a three-play, 74-yard touchdown drive and 10-play 95-yard touchdown drive late in the second quarter to give the Vikings a 16-6 half-time lead.
Bradford, who became just the second Vikings QB to throw for at least 300 yards and three TDs in a season opener, capped both drives with touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs, who was honouring Vikings great Randy Moss with a special pair of purple cleats.
BRADFORD HAILS TEAM-MATES
"I think our guys up front played great tonight," Bradford told ESPN after the game.
"I had all the time in the world. They set the tone for us, when they play like that we are going to be a really good offense."
NO IMPACT BY PETERSON
During Peterson's 10 seasons with the Vikings, coaches never let their own defenders tackle him to the ground in practice. They finally got their chance on the first play of the game but the 2012 MVP dragged multiple defenders to a nine-yard gain. It would be Peterson's longest run of the night, as he appeared to be frustrated with coach Sean Payton with his lack of snaps.
Peterson, who signed a two-year deal worth $7million with New Orleans in April after being released by Minnesota, finished with just 18 yards on six carries. While he was expecting a warm welcome in his return to Minneapolis, he received more boos.
After releasing Peterson, the Vikings drafted running back Dalvin Cook in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Cook earned the start Monday but failed to impress early against the Saints' makeshift defense. Cook's first seven touches totalled just 11 yards but he finished with a total of 127 rushing yards, breaking Peterson's rookie record for yardage in a season opener.