3 Saints takeaways from preseason loss to Vikings

The New Orleans Saints opened the preseason Friday and lost to the Minnesota Vikings 34-25. Here are three takeaways from the game.

The defense had ups and downs.

Good news for the Saints on defense was how it responded to the opening drive. 

The Vikings scored on their first possession after Kirk Cousins ran for a first down on third-and-9 and then threw a perfect pass to Adam Thielen to the 1. On the next series, the Saints forced a three-and-out with many starters still on the field.

Not so good for the Saints were the 8.5 yards per play allowed that let Minnesota out-gain New Orleans by 123 yards despite running 10 fewer plays on offense.

Sean Payton said the team needed to tackle better. The coach suspected he would see things on film that would have coaches pinpointing other issues.

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Saints have the best collection of QBs in the league? 

Sitting behind career passing yards leader Drew Brees on the depth chart are former first-round selected passer Teddy Bridgewater and the versatile Taysom Hill, whose added value comes with everything else he can do. 

Against the Vikings, Bridgewater made his first preseason start since he joined the Saints in a late-August trade last season. He completed his first six pass attempts and 11 of his first 13 -- the two incomplete passes being a drop by Tre'Quan Smith and a break-up in the end zone intended for Michael Thomas.

Hill also showed flashes with a well-thrown pass to Lil'Jordan Humphrey the 6-foot-4 wideout took the rest of the way with a stiff arm to the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown. Hill finished as the team's leading rusher with six carries for 45 yards.

Wil Lutz is still automatic.

Long gone are the preseason questions around the kicking game with how Wil Lutz has performed. 

The Saints' record holder for most consecutive field goals made was good on all four attempts against the Vikings, including one from 53 yards. His other kicks came from 42, 27 and 26.

The Saints signed Lutz to a lengthy extension during the off-season, keeping the kicker they claimed off waivers after the 2016 preseason.

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