Vikings pass Packers but lose Peterson

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[September 19, 2016]  MINNEAPOLIS -- This was probably the debut of their new stadium that Minnesota fans dreamed of three weeks ago, with a different face under center. Although the midgame loss of the star running back may yet produce an offensive nightmare for the Vikings.

In the first regular season contest at U.S. Bank Stadium, Minnesota's new billion-dollar football venue, new Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford led the home team to a 17-14 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Bradford, acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles at the end of the preseason after Teddy Bridgewater was lost to a knee injury, threw for 286 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first start for the Vikings. His favorite target was Stefon Diggs, who had nine catches for 182 yards and a touchdown.

"I thought he played well," Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said of Bradford, who completed 22 of 31 passes. "Diggs made some big catches. It's a big credit to a guy that's come in here and in 15 days or whatever it was, he's learned enough of the offense to come in and perform against a team that's pressuring and blitzing and attacking him as much as they did."

However, the Minnesota ground game was troublesome, putting it mildly. Running back Adrian Peterson finished with just 19 yards on 12 carries, and he left the game in the third quarter due to a right knee injury. He did not return. Zimmer said Vikings will know more after Peterson undergoes an MRI exam Monday.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ran for a touchdown and threw for another, finishing with 213 yards on 20-of-36 passing. However, his interception, hauled in by Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes with 1:50 to play, enabled Minnesota (2-0) to run out the clock.

"There's some moving pieces right now," Rodgers said. "We've got to go back and be harsh with our critiques of ourselves, myself included, and we've got to get better. But I think we will.

"I don't think this is anything to get super crazy about. It's a tough opponent, a division opponent, they're a good football team. They've still got to come to our place later in the season. Hopefully we're in a position to play for something then."

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Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and forces a fumble in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers (1-1) got 50 yards on the ground from Eddie Lacy, but they trailed by 10 points entering the fourth quarter. Rodgers led a long drive and scored on a 10-yard run with 4:30 to play, but his late interception sealed the outcome.

Waynes, who was targeted by Rodgers much of the night and took several pass-interference penalties, stepped in front of a pass intended for Davante Adams.

The Packers fumbled four times in the game but recovered three of them.

Penalties were the Vikings' biggest problem all night. Minnesota was whistled 13 times for 137 yards, but a late pass-interference penalty on the Packers enabled the Vikings to hold onto the ball. With three seconds to play, Bradford dropped back and heaved a pass out of bounds to end the game.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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