Mike Zimmer’s defense pitched a second-half shutout and scored a pair of touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 25-16 season-opening win in Tennessee on Sunday.
Blair Walsh badly missed field goals from 37 and 56 yards and the Vikings went into the half trailing the Titans 10-0. But the defense took over in the second half, fueled by a 77-yard interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Eric Kendricks and a 24-yard fumble return for a touchdown by defensive end Danielle Hunter.
Minnesota forced three turnovers while committing none of their own.
DeMarco Murray scored both Tennessee touchdowns – both of them coming on receptions. His second score came with 28 seconds left in the game.
Shaun Hill starts
Hill, the 15-year veteran, started at quarterback over Sam Bradford. He did everything he needed to do as a game manager, finishing 18-of-33 for 236 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown or an interception.
Bradford, whom the Vikings traded for just eight days ago, did not play.
Walsh all over the place
Walsh missed his two first half field-goal attempts before connecting on all four of his kicks in the second half. He made kicks from 50, 33, 45 and 30 yards. But he did miss a 33-yard extra point.
Peterson a non-factor
Minnesota struggled to run the ball all day. Adrian Peterson was bottled up, finishing with 31 yards on 19 carries. His longest carry of the day went for just 9 yards. Matt Asiata replaced Peterson over the final 6 minutes of the game.
Diggs looked great
It looks like you can forget about a sophomore slump for wide receiver Stefon Diggs. He racked up 7 receptions for 103 yards and was Hill’s go-to-guy.
Kyle Rudolph finished with 4 catches for 65 yards and Adam Thielen caught 4 passes for 54 yards.
The Vikings host the Packers next Sunday night in their home opener at U.S. Bank Stadium.