Then, returner Courtney Roby returned the opening kickoff 25 yards, giving the NFL's best offense good field position to work with. New Orleans then marched 77 yards on just five plays in 2:04 to take a quick 7-0 lead.
Drew Brees threw a 28-yard pass to wide receiver Marques Colston, followed by a 12-yard strike to wide receiver Lance Moore. An incomplete pass followed, as Brees was looking to connect with running back Reggie Bush, but on the next play, Bush took a handoff and ran to the near side, picking up eight-yards with a physical run.
The very next play, Brees threw a 29-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Devery Henderson, and with the Garrett Hartley PAT, the Saints were up 7-0. Then the crowd got revved up again, as Stand Up and Get Crunk blasted on the dome speakers.
The Saints Defense did their part on their first appearance of the game, as they forced a three and out by the Vikings Offense by stuffing Vikings running back Adrian Peterson one yard behind the line of scrimmage.
The Saints had good field position to work with on their next drive, but they were unable to convert on a third down being forced to punt.
Both teams settled down, and the Saints led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. But the Saints Offense came up with three plays that netted over 25-yards each against the Vikings Defense in the first quarter, showing their big play potential.
But the Saints were unable to capitalize on their first drive momentum, and the Vikings began to take control of the game in the second quarter. Down 7-0 going into the second quarter, Minnesota would use their potent ground game to dominate time of possession.
The Vikings ran 23 offensive plays in the second quarter compared to just eight for the Saints. Minnesota held the ball for over 11 minutes and called on running back Adrian Peterson to take control. Peterson finished the first half with 13 carries for 57 yards for an average of 4.4 yards per carry.
The Vikings were only able to get a 41-yard Ryan Longwell field goal, but the drive took 9:25 off the clock. The Vikings would then use their two minute offense to take the lead just before halftime. After Saints Kicker Garrett Hartley missed a 46 yard field goal, the Vikings went back to work.
Minnesota took their first lead of the game when Brett Favre threw a 20 yard touchdown pass to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe to give the Vikings a 9-7 lead. But the Saints came up big when defensive tackle Remi Ayodele blocked the PAT to keep the score at 9-7.
The score would stay the same as the two teams went into the locker for halftime. The Saints Defense answered the bell to start the second half of the game, as they forced the Vikings to punt after just four plays.
The Saints Offense took advantage and went on a long 11 play 74-yard drive, with the end result being a one yard touchdown run by running back Pierre Thomas, and with the Hartley PAT, the Saints reclaimed the lead at 14-9 with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
The teams then entered the fourth with New Orleans up by five with the game in the balance. The Saints took possession of the ball with 13:36 left to play and went on a ten play drive that featured five runs by Pierre Thomas.
New Orleans faced a third and six at the Vikings 14-yard line, and Drew Brees lofted up a pass right on the money to wide receiver Robert Meachem, in which Meachem dropped the ball and forced the Saints to call on kicker Garrett Hartley.
Hartley, who was a perfect 8-for-8 on field goal attempts in the preseason, missed his second field goal of the game. Hartley missed a 32-yard field goal, and the Saints still led by five but had a chance to go up by at least eight points on the drive.