4 things to look for in opening Monday Night Football games

4 things to look for in opening Monday Night Football games

The Minnesota Vikings, a playoff team two seasons ago, host Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the first Monday Night Football game of the year.

And now the Saints have less than six days to figure out how to clean things up before Tom Brady and the New England Patriots roll into town on Sunday. "At the same time, it's Week 1". The Saints won their last postseason meeting 31-28 in overtime in 2010. With Minnesota's defense stifling the New Orleans attack, and Stefon Diggs doing his best Moss impersonation, the Vikings rolled to a 29-19 victory.

"If I'm Sean Payton of the @Saints and @AdrianPeterson is looking at me like that?" The team made a decision to sign Latavius Murray in the free agency and shoot his first draft shot to take on Dalvin Cook, one of the most complete runners to have reached the National Football League in recent years. That extension of the run game is important but if Bradford can take the top off the Saints defense early and make them play honest that alone will open run lanes for Cook later in the game.

Still, this is Brees' team for now and he's the master of this offense.

Behind mostly clean pockets created by a remade offensive line, Bradford completed 27 of 32 passes without a turnover. I'd send him right on the field. At worst, his days are numbered in New Orleans.

As the season moves along, the Saints may just get along just fine without Peterson, too.

Peterson, who is Minnesota's all-time rushing leader with 11,747 yards, finished with six carries for 18 yards in a timeshare with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. Even in Minnesota, he was never a major pass-catcher, and in New Orleans, Kamara and Ingram were already slated for bigger receiving roles.

Minnesota likewise will try to improve off of a disappointing season. But it reverted to the ugly pile of mess we're so accustomed to watching 16 times a season by the end of the first half.

After another Saints field goal in the second quarter, Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford connected with receiver Adam Thielen for 35 yards. He did it with shorter passes since he was constantly besieged behind a lackluster offensive line.

The Vikings spent the off-season trying to fix an offensive line that was problematic a year ago, including the addition of new bookend offensive tackles - Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers. His reunion with his former team isn't taking long at all.

The veteran back was overshadowed by the home team's rookie Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 127 yards on 18 attempts. Cameron Jordan (team-leading 7.5 sacks) and linebacker Craig Robertson (club-best 114 tackles) made their marks past year and rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore is hoping to do the same with the NFL's worst pass defense.



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