If Adrian Peterson was hoping to prove something to the Vikings in his return, he most certainly did – he proved that they made the right decision in letting him go. Because that offense looked just fine without him. Stefon Diggs, repping Randy Moss on his feet and through the air with 7 receptions, 93 yards, 2 touchdowns. Adam Thielen, ADAM THIELEN, 9 for 157, oh, and if that wasn’t enough salt in Peterson’s wound, rookie running back Dalvin Cook had 127 yards on 22 carries, breaking Peterson’s franchise-record for yards in a rookie debut.
How does that taste, AD? Not particularly well, I’m guessing. Can’t feel that great to come back home and see the new guy rip your name out of the record books.
But with respect to Diggs, Thielen, and Cook, last night wasn’t about them. It was about one man and one man only. Just ask Diggs: “It was all Sam. Samuel. Sam Bradford. He was just slinging it.”
Stefon dropping a Samuel on Bradford is one third of the way to a government and he earned it.
Week One was the week for quarterbacks who get routinely mocked to have their revenge. Alex Smith carving the Pats in Foxboro. Jared Goff shredding the Colts in LA. And now Sam Bradford killing the Saints in Minnesota. Check the statline: 27 for 32, for 346 yards, and 3 touchdowns. That’s Sam Bradford going Heisman Trophy Winner Sam Bradford.
Vikings receiver Jarius Wright: “Sam missed on what, only [five] throws? This was an NFL game. That’s hard to do on air.”
And yes, I know that throwing against a Saints defense isn’t much different than throwing against the air, which is why I’m not giving Bradford the MVP just yet. And I’m not declaring that the Vikings will be hosting and playing in the Super Bowl in February. After all, the next guy who doesn’t kill the Saints defense will be the first, but good quarterbacks take advantage of bad defenses. And Sam did just that. He didn’t just take advantage of them, he humiliated them. I’m not sure who had a worse night, Adrian Peterson or the Saints defense. Call it a tie for last.
And yes, I’m aware that we’ve seen this from Bradford in the past. A game here, a quarter there. Flashes of excellence where you remember that this guy does have a Heisman Trophy and that he was the first pick overall and you start to think, maybe, just maybe this is the year it all comes together. And then his offensive line gives way and he gets injured, which is another reason not to fully jump on board the Bradford Express…
But, and there’s definitely a but here if you’re a Viking fan, when you look at that rebuilt offensive line and the time they gave him, and the fact that they have Dalvin Cook in the backfield and weapons throughout the passing game, plus Bradford in his first full season with the team, maybe, you know what, I’m not going to finish that thought. It’s only one game and it’s only the Saints, but if you’re a Viking fan who wants to get a little amped, I probably won’t join you, but I can’t blame you.