Minnesota quarterback Sage Rosenfels looked as if he knew every play in the book Friday night.
It was a far cry from those bleak opening days of training camp.
Rosenfels led the Vikings to scores on their first two series before turning things over to Tarvaris Jackson in a 13-3 preseason victory over Indianapolis.
Clearly, Round 1 of this quarterback derby went to Rosenfels, who got the start and produced the results. He completed 10 of 13 passes for 91 yards.
Jackson wasn’t bad, completing seven of 15 passes for 39 yards, but led the Vikings on only one scoring drive and didn’t get Minnesota into the end zone despite playing nearly two full quarters.
The wrinkle, of course, was that Jackson played primarily with backups and Rosenfels — acquired from Houston in an offseason trade after starting five games for the Texans last year — didn’t face the Colts’ top-line players.
Indy went into typical preseason mode for coach Jim Caldwell’s debut, benching five offensive starters and its top five defensive backs. The most notable absentees: Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne, 2007 NFL defensive player of the year Bob Sanders, and tight end Dallas Clark.
And those who played, didn’t stick weren’t around long.
Three-time MVP Peyton Manning took only six snaps and most of the other offensive starters left with him.
It was downright ugly.
Manning was sacked three times, and the revamped defense looked a lot like last year’s version, though the Colts didn’t showcase many of their new twists.
Adrian Peterson ran four times for 20 yards, Chester Taylor had four carries for 31 yards and a 5-yard touchdown, and Minnesota outgained Indy 147-0 in the first quarter.
The Colts have lost five straight preseason openers.
Still, Rosenfels did exactly what he needed to: Kept it simple, played efficiently and converted plays on third and fourth down to keep the drives moving.
He led the Vikings 72 yards on their first series, setting up Taylor’s TD run.
Minnesota drove 75 yards on the next series, getting a 35-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell to make it 10-0 early in the second quarter.
One of the few bright spots for Indy was top draft pick Donald Brown. He ran five times for 58 yards, including a 3-yard run that set up Indy’s only score — Shane Andrus’ 42-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.
Jackson answered that with a 14-play, 49-yard drive, that set up Longwell’s 36-yard field goal with 2 minutes left in the half.
NOTES: Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian hurt his leg in the first quarter and did not return. … Minnesota’s top draft pick, Percy Harvin, did not play. … Colts rookie punter Pat McAfee averaged 49.4 yards on seven kicks. … Minnesota averaged 4.8 yards per carry, running 41 times for 198 yards.
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