Sam Bradford added another chapter Monday night to his near-perfect start with the Vikings.
Bradford made the necessary throws, including a 7-yard touchdown to Kyle Rudolph, in order to lift the undefeated Vikings to a 24-10 victory over the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Bradford completed passes to nine receivers for 262 yards and the one touchdown. He has not thrown an interception in three starts for the Vikings.
“Sam’s a baller,” Rudolph said. “You can see him getting more and more comfortable now. Not only at the line of scrimmage but in the huddle as a leader of this offense and of this team; guys kind of gravitate towards his energy now.”
The highlight of the Vikings passing game might have been Bradford’s 40-yard strike to Charles Johnson in the fourth quarter, after the Giants had pulled within seven points. On the ensuing play, Jerick McKinnon scored on a 4-yard run.
Bradford was not sacked behind a line that continued turning over personnel, losing right tackle Andre Smith in the first quarter because of an elbow injury. Jeremiah Sirles filled in at tackle a week after jumping in for Alex Boone at left guard.
“They kept me clean and kept those guys going in the run game,” Bradford said. “I think this was probably one of their best games of the year.”
Said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer: “We protected well for him. He made two great throws to Charles Johnson, made some big throws to Rudolph.”
Rhodes has way with Beckham
Xavier Rhodes was the driving force that shut down Odell Beckham Jr.
The Vikings cornerback held the third-year Giants receiver to a career-low 23 receiving yards on three catches, all in the first half. At one point, Beckham drew an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty and Rhodes was pulled from the game by Vikings defensive backs coach Jerry Gray after the two had been jawing back and forth throughout the second quarter.
“Just stay composed,” Rhodes said Gray told him. “Keep my composure and don’t let him get the best of me, stay on my game.”
Said Beckham: “I have to assume that I am always in the wrong no matter what. That’s just a tough pill to swallow, but you have to understand it.”
Giants quarterback Eli Manning was unsympathetic. “He’s got to be aware,” Manning said of the emotional Beckham. “People are looking for him. He’s got to play smart, and he can’t afford to do anything there. They’re going to call him. He’s brought that on himself, and he’s got to realize that.”
Walsh misses again
Blair Walsh pushed a 46-yard attempt wide left in the third quarter. He did convert on three extra-point attempts and later made a 44-yard field goal.
“I wish I knew,” Zimmer said of Walsh’s ongoing struggles. “We need to make those or it’s going to bite us in the rear end.”
Walsh has missed a kick in three of four games this season. He is 6-for-8 on point-after attempts and 8-for-11 on field goals.
Half a ball for each
Jordan Rudolph, Kyle’s wife, is expecting twins Tuesday morning. Rudolph has caught three of Bradford’s four touchdown passes with the Vikings. He made five grabs for 55 yards and a score against New York.
“The goal was to get one touchdown for each,” Rudolph said. “They’ll have to learn to share. It’ll be a good lesson for them.”
• Rookie receiver Laquon Treadwell was active after not suiting up in Week 3 at Carolina. The 23rd overall pick contributed mainly on special teams as a gunner on punt coverage. Receiver Jarius Wright was a healthy scratch for the third time in four games.
• Former Vikings star receiver Randy Moss, an ESPN analyst, was chosen to sound the Gjallarhorn before kickoff. Hall of Fame guard Randall McDaniel was an honorary captain, and he brought the Ryder Cup out for the pregame coin toss.
• New York’s 67-yard pass from Eli Manning to Paul Perkins to start the fourth quarter was the first play of 40-plus yards given up by the Vikings this season. They were the last NFL team to be hit with a 40-yarder.
• Vikings tight end MyCole Pruitt was active for the first time of the season after suffering a knee injury in the preseason. He caught one pass for 7 yards.
• Giants tight end Larry Donnell was knocked out of the game because of a concussion after a blow delivered by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr in the second quarter.