NASHVILLE-Vikings coach Mike Zimmer called it an ugly win in the locker room postgame, but as we learned last year ugly wins beat pretty losses and while the Vikings season opener lacked for dazzling runs by AP or a passing flourish by QB Shaun Hill, it made up for bruising defense and rallied smartly from a scoreless first half to defeat the Titans 25-16 at Nissan Stadium. The Vikes fell behind early after the Titans opened the scoring with a Ryan Succop 28 field goal and increased their lead to 10 with a 6-yard scoring strike from Marcus Mariota to DeMarco Murray. The Vikes seemed to keep self-destructing with missed field goals, Blair Walsh missed wide left twice in the 2nd quarter first from 37 yards then from 56 yards as the first half ended. The Vikes opened the 2nd half with splash, Cordarrelle Patterson ran the opening kickoff back 61 yards into Titan territory, the Vikes didn’t get any further but Walsh finally got the Vikes on the board with a 50-yard field goal after holding the Titans to a three and out, the Vikings launched their longest drive of the game, getting to the Titans 15 where Walsh notched his second field goal. The Titans answered the Vikings with a long drive of their own and were deep in Viking territory when the game turned on a dime. Mariota was pressured and tried a short pass in the flat, but Eric Kendricks read the play perfectly, tipped the ball, gathered in the pass and raced 77 yards the other way with the stolen loaf with nothing in between him and the end zone but Nissan Stadium Bermuda Sod. The score gave the Vikings the lead at 12-10. Walsh’s kicking woes continued as he missed the extra point. The Vikings increased their lead to 5 with another Walsh field goal. The Vikings defense cashed another Titan turnover directly into points when Danielle Hunter scooped up a Titan fumble and rumbled into the end zone. What was left of the 63146 sat glumly as the Vikes pushed the lead to 15 with Walsh’s 4th field goal. The Titans closed the gap to 9 with Mariota’s 2nd touchdown pass to Murray, but the Vikes blew up the 2-point conversion and recovered the subsequent onside kick to seal the win
Trae Waynes took advantage of a last second start with the inactive status of Xavier Rhodes and had 10 tackles (all solo) Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter each notched a sack.
Blair Walsh was erratic at best, missing 2 field goals in the first half and an extra point in the second half. He did have four makes though. Punter Jeff Locke had 51-yard punt the longest of his three punts on the day. Cordarrelle Patterson had only one kick return but it was a crucial 61 yarder to start the second half.
The Vikings didn’t turn the ball over and didn’t allow a sack.
The Vikings run game was nearly non-existant, 65 yards on 28 carries. Adrian Peterson.
The Vikings offense never got inside the Titan 10 yard line.
Offense: Shaun Hill ran an efficient game, didn’t throw a pick and made timely throws as a surprise starter at QB. Stefon Diggs had 103 yards receiving on 7 catches
Danielle Hunter and Eric Kendricks both scored touchdowns on the day Hunter added a sack and four tackles, Kendricks added 5 solo tackles on the day.
“The turnovers were absolutely catastrophic.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey
“The defense came through for us and made some big plays. They pretty much bailed us out today.”
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson
That’s the fact
Titans QB Marcus Mariota had a perfect QB rating in his rookie debut last year, this year his rating was a more pedestrian 86.5
The Vikings regular season opening of US Bank Stadium, couldn’t come on a grander stage. The Vikings host divisional nemesis Green Bay on Sunday Night Football kickoff is at 7:25p (CDT)