Diggs big, scores twice to give Vikings win in season opener
MINNEAPOLIS — Stefon Diggs took a two-step approach in honoring former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss on the eve of Moss’ induction into the team’s Ring of Honor.
During the Vikings’ Monday, Sept. 11, season opener, Diggs wore customized cleats featuring Moss’ fake mooning of the Green Bay Packers faithful during a 2005 playoff game.
He then became the first Vikings player since Moss with two touchdown catches in a season opener.
In front of a raucous U.S. Bank Stadium crowd, the third-year Vikings receiver hauled in seven catches for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help give Minnesota a 29-19 win over the New Orleans Saints.
Diggs’ 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 Detroit Lakes, Minn., native Adam Thielen (35 yards) and Jarius Wright (21 yards) on long connections.
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. Bradford finished 27-for-32 with 346 yards passing and no interceptions.
Thielen led Minnesota with 157 yards receiving on nine catches, while rookie running back Dalvin Cook paced the team with 127 yards rushing. New kicker Kai Forbath hit all three of his field goal attempts, but did miss an extra point attempt.
Adrian Peterson, in his return to Minnesota, was held to just 18 yards on six carries for the Saints.
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.
Brees ended the night with 291 yards on 27-for-37 passing.