Drew Brees threw for 237 yards and a touchdown as the New Orleans Saints opened defense of their Super Bowl championship with a 14-9 victory over the visiting Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.
Pierre Thomas rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown as the Saints (1-0) prevailed in a rematch of last season's NFC Championship game.
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, who decided just last month to play a 20th and final season, struggled in the second half and finished 15-of-27 for 171 yards with a touchdown and one interceptions.
Adrian Peterson finished with 87 yards on 19 carries and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe had four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings (0-1).
The Saints went ahead to stay on their first possession of the third quarter. After having just three rushing plays in the first half, they mixed the run and pass on an 11-play, 74-yard drive that Thomas capped with a 1-yard plunge.
Minnesota had taken a 9-7 lead into halftime despite being dominated in the first quarter.
The Saints scored on their first possession, needing just five plays to cover 77 yards. Brees capped the drive by hitting Devery Henderson with a 29-yard strike.
Minnesota finally got on the board late in the second quarter, using a 16-play drive that ate up 9 minutes, 25 seconds and led to Ryan Longwell's 41-yard field goal.
New Orleans blew a great opportunity after Jonathan Vilma intercepted Favre with just under 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, but the Saints went three-and-out and Garrett Hartley hooked a 46-yard field goal attempt to the left.
Favre responded by driving Minnesota 64 yards in five plays, hooking up with Shiancoe on a 20-yard scoring pass for a 9-7 lead with 34 seconds to play. Remo Ayodele blocked the extra point attempt.