News | Minnesota Vikings –

News | Minnesota Vikings –

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EAGAN, Minn. The Star Tribune covered the atmosphere outside U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday ahead of the Vikings’ home opener.

Dave Orrick caught up with a family who drove three hours to make it to the game.

Like many in the morning masses milling about, they had come a ways; the Spaeths drove three hours from Aurora.

“I woke up at 5:30, got my gear and was ready to go,” said Marshall, who watched every game on TV last season but had never been to the big city, much less the purple palace to see a game.

Orrick observed that receiver Justin Jefferson had the most popular jersey as fans donned the modern and Classic versions of No. 18.

Throughout his piece, Orrick interviewed several out-of-state fans who were ecstatic to take in a Vikings home game.

In fact, among the first waves of fans in the downtown parade of purpled pedestrians Sunday morning, it was hard to find locals.

Their points of origin were as varied as their Vikings origin stories.

There were Mike and Carrie Smithgall who made the trip from Charlotte, N.C. A New York native, Mike Smithgall said he fell in love with the Vikings more than 50 years ago when he happened to see them play the then-Boston Patriots.

“They’ve been my team ever since,” he said, adding that the couple has attended a number of road games over the years but never been to Minneapolis before.

How did Carrie become a Vikings fan? “I’m with him,” she said, nodding toward her husband.

ESPN names Jordan Addison as impressive Week 1 newcomer

As part of their weekly power rankings, ESPN identified which newcomer — defined as a rookie, offseason acquisition or new coach — on every team impressed in Week 1.

For the Vikings, it was rookie receiver Jordan Addison for scoring a touchdown in his NFL debut.

On Addison, ESPN wrote:

The Vikings No. 23 overall pick scored the first points of the season, a 39-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter to give the Vikings a 7-3 lead over the Buccaneers.

More importantly, he capitalized on the kind of coverage the team typically faces. All-Pro Justin Jefferson was double-teamed on the play. Addison simply ran past a safety that also appeared to be keeping his eye on Jefferson, and hauled in a Kirk Cousins pass for one of the easier deep touchdown receptions you’ll see.

Addison stepped right in and made an instant impact.

Here are the other NFC North newcomers that ESPN recognized.

Lions rookie defensive back Brian Branch:

Branch recognized that NFL game speed was faster than college football, but the former Alabama star looked comfortable against the Chiefs.

He returned an interception for a 50-yard touchdown against one of the best offenses in the league.

Bears rookie running back Roschon Johnson:

The fourth-round running back was the lone bright spot for the Bears in a 38-20 drubbing by Green Bay. Johnson’s touchdown may have come too late, but his efficiency as a rusher (4.0 yards per carry) was the best of any Bears running back. Chicago leaned on the rookie (29 snaps) more than Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman, a load share that could become heavier for Johnson should he continue to provide the offense with multiple uses.

Packers rookie kicker Anders Carlson:

For all the angst over Carlson — from drafting him in the sixth round to moving on from franchise scoring leader Mason Crosby to an inconsistent preseason and training camp — he delivered in a big way with a 52-yard field goal to close out the first half vs. the Bears. The Packers mismanaged the clock after Jordan Love got sacked and had to use their last timeout.

Click here read ESPN’s full list of notable Week 1 performances.

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