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Zimmer said he wanted Bradford to play in Titans game

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The plan actually wasn't for Sam Bradford to take his first Vikings snap Sunday night, but it worked out OK. Bradford completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-14 win over Green Bay in the first reg...

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) hugs Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday night. Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) hugs Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday night. Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The plan actually wasn't for Sam Bradford to take his first Vikings snap Sunday night, but it worked out OK. Bradford completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-14 win over Green Bay in the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Afterward, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he wanted Bradford to play in a 25-16 win at Tennessee in the Sept. 11 opener, but because he hadn't yet mastered the offense after being acquired on Sept. 3, Shaun Hill went the distance.

"My plan wasn't for his first snap to take place here at U.S. Bank Stadium against Green Bay," Zimmer said. "I was planning on getting him in the game last week at a certain time. I told Shaun that. I told Sam that. It just didn't work out that way.

"I didn't think this was the best atmosphere for him to (debut). I saw him walking through the tunnel with all the fans here. He's never been to U.S. Bank Stadium. I don't think it was the best situation for him, but he made the best of it."

While it took him some time to get into a groove, Bradford ultimately looked as if has been with the Vikings for 15 months, not 15 days.

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"We won and at the end of the day, that's all that matters," he said. "Obviously, any time you can beat a division rival, those game are always big."

After Bradford was acquired from the Eagles for first- and fourth-round draft picks, he was earmarked to replace Teddy Bridgewater, who suffered a season-ending knee injury the week before the preseason finale.

Zimmer tried during the week to keep his starter secret, but it was no surprise when Bradford trotted onto the field for the first snap. Last Wednesday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he expected Bradford to start, and it was reported he took all of the first-team snaps that day during practice.

Bradford would say only that he found out he was starting "earlier this week."

It looked in the second quarter as if Hill might be needed again. Bradford banged his left hand on a helmet and was sent for an X-ray. Hill warmed up, but Bradford never missed a play.

"It's a little sore, but it's fine," Bradford said.

Bradford was sacked four times, and under pressure plenty of other times, but thoroughly outplayed Packers counterpart Aaron Rodgers, who threw for a touchdown and ran for another but fumbled and threw an interception in the fourth quarter to help Minnesota seal the victory

Bradford didn't commit a turnover.

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"He took some hits he should not have taken,'' said guard Alex Boone. "I'm upset about that, but we're going to fix it.''

Zimmer said he wasn't surprised by Bradford's debut.

"He can throw the ball," Zimmer said. "He's got some toughness about him. This isn't his first rodeo."

A former No. 1 overall draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma, Bradford threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph with 10:14 left in the second quarter to tie the score 7-7. He tossed a 25-yard TD pass to Diggs with 2:11 remaining in the third quarter to extend the lead to 17-7.

"That's one of the best atmospheres I've probably ever played in," Bradford said. "A lot of people talk about Seattle being loud, but this building was rocking. Our fans were tremendous."

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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