It was a series of firsts for the Minnesota Vikings. It was the first game in purple for many on the team including head coach Mike Zimmer and the majority of his coaching staff. The team, for the first time in three decades, has an outdoor home.
The quarterback situation was up in the air. With Matt Cassel returning to the Vikings and with rookie first round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater exciting fans with his potential, the odd man out seems to be Christian Ponder.
Cassel looked poised against the Raiders, playing for one series and completing five of his six pass attempts, leading the Vikings to a touchdown. Cassel hit four receivers including a pair to Cordarrell Patterson for 25 yards. Kyle Rudolph caught a 22 yard pass that everyone in the stadium thought was a touchdown (including the scoreboard operator) but was ruled down on the one yard line. Matt Asiata pounded his way through the goal line defense of the Raiders to score.
Bridgewater had some bright spots and some rookie moments. Overall he looked good but it may be a few games before he replaces Cassel as the starter.
A brilliant bright spot for the team, and the hometown crowd, was Minnesota native Adam Thielen who caught a pass for 15 yards and was brilliant on special teams, stopping the Raider’s punt return dead in its tracks. Thielen also returned three punts for 51 yards.
For Thielen, who was on the Viking’s practice squad last year, the game no doubt puts his chances of making the team one step closer to reality as undoubtedly other teams around the league have taken notice of the young Minnesotan. The Vikings’ must decide whether or not to chance allowing other teams a chance to sign him by placing him on waivers, sending him to the practice squad.
The Vikings will take on the Arizona Cardinals on August 16 at home.
One thing is for sure. The Minnesota Vikings are in for a lot of changes this year. The outdoor stadium has changed the gameday experience, some for the better, others for worse. One thing is for sure, Vikings fans who come to the home games are in for a treat…until winter comes.
Stay tuned for more news and photos from the Vikings throughout the season.