Bridgewater shines, defense struggles in Saints preseason loss to Vikings

Coach Payton gives his thoughts on the Saints preseason opener

NEW ORLEANS (WAFB) - Drew Brees and Cam Jordan watched from the sidelines for the Saints’ first preseason game, which at times was not pretty, especially when the Saints were on defense.

The Black and Gold gave up a total of 460 yards in a 34-25 loss to the Vikings.

Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater dissects his performance against the Vikings
Saints QB Taysom Hill recaps his day against the Vikings

However, former Viking quarterback Teddy Bridgewater played well in his start under center for the Saints. He threw accurate passes and protected the football. Bridgewater was 14-of-19 for 134 yards and a touchdown. Running back Latavius Murray, who also played for Minnesota, had three carries for 14 yards and three catches for 22 yards. Alvin Kamara had four rushes for 11 yards and two catches for 15 yards.

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The Saints' biggest scoring weapon was kicker Will Lutz, who was 4-for-4 on field goals.

Three of Minnesota's four quarterbacks threw touchdown passes.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins picked apart the Saints defense on the first drive. A 35-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen was reversed and the ball was placed on the 1-yard line. Eli Apple was on the coverage. On the next play, Cousins tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to running back Alexander Mattison to put the Vikings up 7-0. Cousins was 4-of-4 on the drive for 65 yards and the TD. He also ran for 10 yards on a play. Cousins' night was done after that opening drive.

Bridgewater started off hot, completing his first six passes. The Saints got inside the 10-yard line but couldn't punch it in and had to settle for a Lutz 27-yard field goal to make it 7-3. The drive was 14 plays for 55 yards and chewed up just over 8:00 on the clock. Bridgewater was 6-of-7 for 43 yards.

The talk of the offseason was the pass interference "no call" in the NFC Championship Game, which resulted in changes to the rule. It was the Vikings who challenged a play for possible offensive pass interference. The non-call on the field was upheld. Later, Saints head coach Sean Payton challenged a called defensive pass interference, but the call stood.

In the second quarter, Lutz made a booming 52-yard field goal to make it 7-6.

On the next drive, the Vikings went 76 yards on seven plays in just under 4:00. It ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Sean Mannion to Olabisi Johnson to put Minnesota up 14-6.

The Saints were able to recover a fumble on the Vikings' next drive. With less than 2:00 left in the half, Bridgewater went deep to former LSU track star Cyril Grayson Jr. for a 32-yard gain. A roughing the passer penalty added another 15 yards to the play. With less than 1:00 left in the half, Bridgewater threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dan Arnold. The two-point try failed and the Saints trailed by two points, 14-12, at halftime.

Taysom Hill, who plays several different positions for the Saints, started the second half at quarterback. Arnold bobbled a pass from Hill and right into the hands of cornerback Nate Meadors. He returned it 30 yards for a pick-six and extended the Vikings lead to 21-12.

On the next possession, Hill orchestrated a 10-play, 68-yard drive that ended in a 26-yard field goal by Lutz to make it 21-15. Hill had three carries for 35 yards on the drive.

But, the Vikings continued to score touchdowns. Next, it was quarterback Kyle Sloter with a two-yard scoring pass to fullback Khari Blasingame. The two-point attempt failed. Minnesota held a 27-15 lead at that point.

Another field goal from Lutz to start the fourth quarter, this one from 42 yards out, made it 27-18.

The Saints were not done, though. Hill connected with rookie wide receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey who broke two tackles to get into the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown to cut Minnesota's lead to two, at 27-25.

But once again, the Vikings were able to find pay dirt. This time it was a 64-yard touchdown run by running back Mike Boone. The long score made it 34-25 with 7:09 left in the game.

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