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Thielen eclipses 150-yard receiving mark in Vikings win

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) carries the ball during the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Former Laker Adam Thielen led Minnesota with 157 yards receiving on nine catches Monday night in a 29-19 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the season-opener at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Thielen averaged 17.4 yards per catch and had two big third down conversions with passes of more than 20 yards from quarterback Sam Bradford. Thielen nabbed all but one ball of 10 targeted passes from Bradford.

ADAM THIELEN/Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Bradford was near perfect with only five incompletions thrown. He converted on 27 of 32 attempts for three touchdowns, two to Stefon Diggs and one to Kyle Rudolph. Bradford outperformed Drew Brees who was 27-for-37 for 291 yards and one touchdown.

Diggs became the first Vikings player since Randy Moss with two touchdown catches in a season opener and did so on the eve of Moss' induction into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime.

Diggs hauled in seven catches for 93 yards. His first score came on a play-action bootleg pass midway through the second quarter. He was left wide open in the back corner of the end zone, and Sam Bradford lofted the pass from 18 yards out.

The score was the shortest in a three-play drive, with Bradford hitting Thielen (35 yards) and Jarius Wright (21 yards) on long connections.

ADAM THIELEN/Brad Rempel - USA TODAY Sports

Diggs also came up big on the final drive of the half. Pinned on their own 5 yard line, the Vikings drove nearly the entire length of the field — aided by personal foul penalty on Saints defensive back Kenny Vaccaro, who leveled a defenseless Diggs mid-air.

Three plays later, Diggs went up the ladder to wrangle a jump ball from two yards out. Diggs took advantage of the league's loosening of celebration rules, punting the ball into the stands.

Bradford also threw a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph in the fourth quarter, the quarterback's 100th career touchdown pass.

Adrian Peterson, in his return to Minnesota, was held to just 18 yards on six carries for the Saints and had words with head coach Sean Payton on the sideline after being benched early in the game.

The Saints only managed a quartet of Will Lutz field goals until garbage time, when Drew Brees found tight end Coby Fleener for an eight-yard score with less than two minutes left in the game.

(The Forum News Service contributed to this story)

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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