MINNESOTA SPORTS BRIEFS: Vikings topped by Texans in preseason opener
MINNEAPOLIS (Sports Network) - T.J. Yates completed 13-of-21 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown as the Houston Texans downed the Minnesota Vikings, 27-13, in the preseason opener for both teams at the Metropdome Friday evening.
Starter Matt Schaub was 5-for-5 for 34 yards in his only series and rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins hauled in four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown for the Texans, who were knocked out of the playoffs in the AFC Divisional round by the New England Patriots after finishing with a franchise- best 12-4 mark in the regular season.
Houston's rookie quarterback Case Keenum was 13-for-18 passing for 125 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Christian Ponder was 1-for-2 for 15 yards and an interception, while newly acquired quarterback Matt Cassel completed 12-of-19 passes for 212 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Both teams rested their key players as running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson were inactive for the Texans, while running back Adrian Peterson and newly-acquired wide receiver Greg Jennings sat out for Minnesota. Zach Line hauled in a 61-yard touchdown pass and rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson caught four passes for 54 yards for the Vikings, who finished 10-6 before losing to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Wild Card game.
Houston got on the board first as Randy Bullock split the uprights from 48 yards out, but Blair Walsh tied the game with just under six minutes left in the first with a 22-yard field goal.Cassel connected with Line 3 1/2 minutes into the second quarter on a 61-yard catch and run for a score. Hopkins caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Yates with 6:24 left in the first half to tie the game, but Walsh nailed a 33-yarder with 1:19 to play to give the Vikings a 13-10 edge heading into the locker room. Bullock's 21-yard field goal with 4:28 left in the third tied the game before Lestar Jean caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to cap a nine-play, 72-yard drive with 10:26 to go in the fourth. Rookie running back Ray Graham found the end zone from five yards out with just over 4 1/2 minutes remaining to make it 27-13.
Justin Morneau had two home runs, including the go-ahead grand slam in the top of the seventh inning, and the Minnesota Twins defeated the Chicago White Sox, 7-5, in the opener of a four-game series at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Donnie Veal (1-3) issued the third walk of the inning to load the bases. Nate Jones came on the mound and struck out Josh Willingham, but then Morneau came to the plate. On the seventh pitch from Jones, Morneau hammered a 98 MPH fastball to right field, giving his team the lead for good. Brian Duensing (5-1) got the final out in the sixth to pick up the win. Starter Kyle Gibson gave up three runs on four hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. Alexei Ramirez had a home run and three RBI while Paul Konerko also hit a homer for the White Sox. John Danks got the start and surrendered three runs on four hits while fanning nine and walking five over six frames. Solo shots by Oswaldo Arcia and Morneau in the eighth and ninth, respectively, extended the Twins' lead to 7-3.