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Home sweet dome for Saints in win over Vikings

Sep 21, 2014 - 11:03 PM New Orleans, LA ( - Back in the comfort of their own dome, the New Orleans Saints shook off a pair of heartbreaking losses to start the season.

Drew Brees completed 27-of-35 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns as the Saints defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 20-9, on Sunday afternoon.

Rookie Brandin Cooks caught eight passes for 74 yards and Khiry Robinson carried the ball 18 times for 69 yards for New Orleans (1-2), which went 8-0 at the Superdome last year.

"It was good to get a win. It wasn't perfect, but I thought we played hard. I thought we corrected some of the things we were working on an emphasis standpoint," Saints head coach Sean Payton said.

The Saints lost their first two games by a combined five points.

Teddy Bridgewater made his NFL debut after starting quarterback Matt Cassel broke his left foot on a scramble early in the second quarter. The first- rounder from Louisville completed 12-of-20 passes for 150 yards for the Vikings (1-2).

"I thought he did some good things, obviously it was a tough situation with him going in there," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said.

Matt Asiata tallied 35 yards on 12 totes in place of Adrian Peterson, who missed his second straight game since allegations of child abuse surfaced against the star running back.

Peterson has been accused of using a wooden tree branch to hit his 4-year-old son as a disciplinary measure. He was deactivated for last Sunday's loss against New England after being indicted the prior week in his native Texas, but he was reinstated by the team on Monday.

However, after backlash from sponsors, fans and even the Minnesota governor, the team reversed course again and placed him on the exempt-commissioner's permission list until the legal process plays out.

The Vikings hung around after the Saints raced out to a 13-0 start, trimming the deficit to 13-9 when Blair Walsh nailed a 40-yard field goal on Minnesota's opening possession of the third quarter.

It appeared that Minnesota was getting the ball back after Captain Munnerlyn and Robert Blanton sandwiched Brees for a sack on a 3rd-and-13 on the final play of the third. Munnerlyn, though, was called for an unneccessary roughness penalty for slamming Brees onto the ground.

New Orleans capitalized.

Brees hit Jimmy Graham for 10 yards on a 3rd-and-7 and flipped a pass to Cooks in the left flat for a 19-yard completion on another 3rd-and-7. Brees then fired an 18-yard TD pass to Marques Colston to put the Saints up 20-9.

Colston ran a shake route in the middle of the field before barreling through two Vikings defenders near the goal line for the score.

Minnesota was unable to convert a 3rd-and-13 on its ensuing series and New Orleans ran out the remaining 6:58, converting a pair of 3rd-and-longs. Kenny Stills hauled in an 11-yard reception on 3rd-and-10 and Brees hit Robert Meachem for a 23-yard completion on 3rd-and-11. Everson Griffen was flagged for a neutral zone infraction on 3rd-and-3 and two Brees kneeldowns clinched the victory.

Earlier, the Saints posted touchdowns on their first two offensive series.

Pierre Thomas capped New Orleans' opening 11-play, 80-yard march with a 1-yard TD plunge. Following a Vikings three-and-out, Brees found a wide-open Josh Hill along the right sideline for a 34-yard score. The extra point was blocked as the Saints led 13-0.

Walsh kicked field goals of 25 and 30 yards, respectively, on Minnesota's next two drives, cutting the gap to 13-6.

Bridgewater came in at the 12:15 mark of the second.

Game Notes

New Orleans has won the last four meetings against Minnesota, which included the NFC Championship Game following the 2009 season ... The Saints outgained the Vikings 396-247 and held a 27-13 advantage in first downs ... New Orleans was 9-of-13 on third down.