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New Orleans Saints beat Vikings 20-9 in home opener

Saints improve to 1-2

The New Orleans Saints played their first home game of the 2014 season Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and they rewarded their fans with a 20-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, their first of the season.

Quarterback Drew Brees got the Saints (1-2) off to a fast start as he led them on back-to-back scoring drives on the team's first two possessions. The Saints marched 80 yards on their opening possession and scored on a 1-yard dive by Pierre Thomas. After forcing a three-and-out by the Vikings, Drew Brees led the Saints on an 82-yard drive that was capped by a 34-yard scoring pass to tight end Josh Hill.

"All in all it was good to get that first win," Saints Coach Sean Payton said Sunday. "...Forcing them to settel for field goals, that's huge."

The Vikings' offense struggled early under Matt Cassel's direction but got some life when rookie first-rounder Teddy Bridgewater came in after Cassel suffered a foot injury. Bridgewater finished the game 12 of 20 for 150 yards and did an excellent job evading a strong Saints pass rush.

The Vikings (1-2) scored three times on Blair Walsh field goals (25, 30 and 40 yards).

Brees was 27 of 35 for 293 yards and two touchdowns, the second an 18-yard strike to veteran Marques Colston in the fourth quarter. It was the 64th time Brees and Colston had combined on a TD, seventh-most in NFL history. Colston, after not being targeted in last week's loss against the Browns, had two receptions for 25 yards.

Khiry Robinson, starting in place of an injured Mark Ingram, ran for 69 yards on 18 carries. Rookie Brandin Cooks had eight receptions for 74 yards while tight end Jimmy Graham caught six passes for 54 yards.

Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton played an exceptional game with eight tackles while Junor Galette and Cameron Jordan each recorded sacks for the Saints.

The Saints will be back on the road next Sunday as they take on the Dallas Cowboys (2-1) in a nationally televised "Sunday Night Football" game at AT&T Stadium.

Fan photos from the Saints vs Vikings game on Sunday, September 21, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert and Matthew Sharpe. (New Orleans Saints photos)

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