A knee-jerk reaction at the gun; actual column will be at startribune.com and in the actual paper, along with my grades and team coverage.

 

By Jim Souhan

Sam Bradford throwing downfield. Mike Zimmer shackling Drew Brees.

The Vikings’ new offensive line standing upright for seconds at a time.

All three might have been listed as doubtful heading into the Vikings’ opener on Monday night.

All three turned into major positives for the Vikings in a 29-19 victory over New Orleans at U.S. Bank Stadium.

After a sluggish first quarter-and-a-half, Bradford, finding a clean pocket and open receivers, began showing off what modern NFL scouts like to call ``arm talent,’’ throwing from all angles and to all reaches of the field.

In the first half alone, he completed 17 of 20 passes for 197 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions while taking zero sacks.

Bradford showed the ability to get rid of the ball quickly when necessary, and to make big throws downfield when possible.

Zimmer’s defenses in six games against Brees, counting Cincinnati, Dallas and Minnesota, had allowed Brees to compile these numbers: 1,746 yards, a 68.3 completion percentage, 16 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Monday night, Brees avoided big mistakes but found few big plays, allowing the Vikings to start a second straight season with an impressive home victory.