A knee injury knocked Adrian Peterson out of the Vikings’ 17-14 win over Green Bay in the third quarter on Sunday night.
After the game, Peterson was on crutches in the locker room with a black brace supporting his right knee. Head coach Mike Zimmer said Peterson would undergo a magnetic resonance imaging scan on Monday morning. Asked if the injury might be serious, Zimmer said “it could,” but reiterated the MRI would be needed to know the extent of the damage.
“He might miss a week, I don’t know if he will or not,” Zimmer said. “Whatever it was has calmed down now, so we’ll see.”
Peterson’s night ended with 12 carries for 19 yards, giving him another subpar outing as Vikings blockers were unable to clear much room. He was helped off the field and into the locker room, from where he was ruled out of the game almost immediately. That didn’t hold back quarterback Sam Bradford, who had a memorable night in his first start with the Vikings.
Three plays after Peterson’s exit, Bradford delivered a 25-yard touchdown strike in the face of pressure to receiver Stefon Diggs. The score gave the Vikings a 17-7 lead in the third quarter.
Running backs Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata filled in for Peterson.
Waynes gets redemption
Starting for the injured Xavier Rhodes, Vikings second-year cornerback Trae Waynes went from potential scapegoat to hero.
After allowing a 13-yard completion to Davante Adams, one of many Aaron Rodgers made against Waynes, a crucial trio of plays followed for the Vikings defense. Nose tackle Linval Joseph broke through for the fifth and final sack on Rodgers. Cornerback Terence Newman then made a diving deflection on a pass intended for Jordy Nelson.
Facing third-and-14, Rodgers targeted Waynes again. This time, the second-year cornerback got his head turned around and intercepted the pass intended for Adams — all but sealing the Vikings’ victory.
“As a DB, you definitely need to have short-term memory, and he definitely had a short-term memory,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “And made a play.”
It was Waynes’ first career regular-season interception, ending a run of struggles after he was flagged three times in the second half. He was pulled briefly after he drew two flags in the span of four plays.
“He was tired,” Zimmer explained, adding, “It’s all part of the learning process. I could’ve done a better job of helping him at times, you know, it wasn’t really in the game plan to work too much with [Adams].”
Zimmer commended Waynes for not hanging his head after allowing some big plays, including a 39-yard pass to Nelson, which ultimately set up Rodgers’ 10-yard touchdown run.
Once again, the Vikings walked away with a win against the Packers with five sacks. In a statistical repeat of the Jan. 3 division-clinching win at Lambeau Field, waves of the Vikings’ pass rush corralled and ultimately took down Rodgers. Defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Brian Robison each caused fumbles with Robison’s hit forcing a fourth-quarter takeaway.
Defensive tackle Tom Johnson, who led the Vikings with four of the team’s eight hits on Rodgers, said he could sense the quarterback’s angst.
“Any quarterback who you have on his heels and don’t have a clean pocket is going to get frustrated,” Johnson said. “Our DBs played tight coverage at times, making him miss balls, and we just capitalized on that.”
The pressure came without defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who was inactive due to a knee injury.
The Vikings pulled out all the stops to make the first regular-season game inside U.S. Bank Stadium a special occasion.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell arrived a few hours before the game as thousands of fans took in pregame festivities, which included a free concert held outside the stadium. A pregame video included legends of the Vikings franchise, including Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, Alan Page, John Randle, Randall McDaniel and Matt Birk, with Ahmad Rashad narrating.
Bud Grant, the former Vikings coach and a Hall of Fame inductee, was the first to sound the Gjallarhorn, perched above the second level of the stadium.
“Walking around, Fran Tarkenton was here before the game — you know that’s special,” Goodell said. “That really means something. I think it’s a great way to build the kind of passion everybody wants, and this stadium is going to do that.”