Game one for the Minnesota Vikings in the books, but it certainly wasn’t pretty at all. After looking lethargic and off in the 1st half and spotting the Tennessee Titans a 10-0 lead, the Vikings stormed all the way back, as their defense scored 25 unanswered points and defeated the Tennessee Titans in their 2016 regular season opener by a score of 25-16.
Here are three things we learned from the Week 1 matchup.
For all the controversy about the quarterback situation in this one, Shaun Hill didn’t play a bad game. He was efficient when he had the time, as he completed 18-of-33 passes for 236 yards and, most importantly, didn’t turn the ball over. Stefon Diggs had a big game, leading the Minnesota receivers with seven catches for 103 yards.
Adrian Peterson was a non-factor all day, as he gained just 31 yards on 19 carries and didn’t have a run longer than nine yards. The Titans made sure to take him out of the game with 8 and nine-man fronts and did a great job in doing so. The biggest negative was not getting the ball in the end zone, with the offense stalling when getting into Titans territory, and leaving the scoring to kicker Blair Walsh.
The big story in this one, however, was the Minnesota defense. After looking lethargic in the first half and going into the locker room 10-0, they came roaring back, forcing three turnovers and contributing Minnesota’s only two touchdowns of the afternoon. Eric Kendricks had the biggest play of the game, with a 77-yard interception return for a touchdown that turned the tide of the game. Danielle Hunter then capitalized on a bad hand-off in the Titans backfield and rumbled 22 yards into the end zone for the second defensive touchdown of the game. Although Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota had a big game for 271 yards and two touchdowns, the Vikings negated the Titans running game, holding DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry to only 45 yards on 18 carries.
Blair Walsh had a solid game, making four field goals, and accounting for the Minnesota offensive scoring. He did have a bad miss from short range, and his other miss was from 56 yards, but when he was needed, he did his job. Cordarrelle Patterson only had one kickoff return but made it count, taking it for 61 yards setting up a Walsh field goal.
The Vikings move to 1-0 on the season, and will open up the first regular season at U.S. Bank Stadium next Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers. The Titans go to 0-1, and will play another NFC North team next week when they make a trip to the Motor City to take on the Lions.