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Saints shut down Vikings for 14-9 win

NEW ORLEANS — The Saints took a page from the Vikings' playbook and outslugged Minnesota on the NFL's opening night, winning 14-9 Thursday at the Superdome.

The Saints, who had just three running plays in the first half, turned to the ground game during the final 30 minutes.

New Orleans allowed 72 yards in the second half.

Pierre Thomas led the Saints with 71 yards rushing on 19 carries. His final carry, 10 yards up the middle for a first down, clinched the win and brought a "Who Dat'' cheer. New Orleans held the ball for the final 5:32.

The Saints kept Brett Favre and the Vikings offense in check, with cornerback Jabari Greer delivering key deflections and tackles in the secondary.

"We did a good job of keeping the ball in front of us," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "I thought our players tackled real well."

The Saints opened the second half running the ball right at the Vikings, never needing a third down to drive 74 yards in 11 plays to take a 14-9 lead.

Reports: Pats' Brady becomes best paid

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, 33, agreed to a four-year extension that would make him the NFL's highest-paid player, according to reports.

The contract is reportedly worth an average of $18 million per year and begins in 2011. The average value surpasses that of Giants quarterback Eli Manning, whose six-year, $97.5 million ($16.25 million average) extension starts next year..

Meanwhile, officials say a Massachusetts driver whose van collided early Thursday morning with a car driven by Brady has had his driver's license suspended at least five times. Brady was not hurt and practiced with the team. He was not available for comment.

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Ann Dufresne said the driver's license of Ludgero Rodrigues, 21, was suspended at least five times in three years.

Rodrigues was cited for failing to stop at a red light.

ex-bull injured: Bills middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell, a USF standout from 1999 to 2002, missed practice because of a foot injury and is doubtful for Sunday's opener against the Dolphins. The only details coach Chan Gailey provided were that Mitchell was injured in practice Wednesday and that he was having tests to determine a "short-term and long-term" prognosis, an indication the injury could be severe.

ravens-jets exchange: Ray Lewis is thrilled cornerback Darrelle Revis is back with the Jets after a holdout. The Ravens linebacker says his team now won't have to hear excuses if it beat the Jets on Monday. "I'm just glad he is signed, so there are no excuses," Lewis said. "Don't come and say, 'Oh, we didn't have Revis.' " A smiling Revis responded: "I'd just tell Ray that that's a good quote and we'll see him Monday night."

cowboys: Pro Bowl receiver Miles Austin agreed to a six-year extension through the 2016 season. In June he agreed to a $3.168 million one-year contract, and the team said he will get an additional $54 million with the extension. … The team is likely to be missing two starting offensive lineman Sunday against the Redskins. Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier, who sustained knee injuries in training camp, missed practice for a second straight day. Their backups are former Seminoles: Alex Barron and Montrae Holland.

dolphins: The team terminated the contract of center Jake Grove, who last season got a multiyear deal that included at least $14 million guaranteed. Joe Berger will start.

packers: Cornerback Charles Woodson, 33, signed a five-year deal worth up to $55 million.

panthers: Starting right tackle Jeff Otah said he has had continued problems in his recovery from two surgeries on his left knee and is two to three weeks from playing. That puts him in doubt when Carolina hosts the Bucs on Sept. 19.

seahawks: Former Plant High standout Mike Williams was named a starting receiver by his old USC coach, Pete Carroll. Williams, 26, has never been an opening-day starter after he was taken No. 10 overall by the Lions in 2005. "I'm here to prove that if given the opportunity you give me, this is what you are going to get," said Williams, out of the NFL the past two seasons.

Titans: Coach Jeff Fisher said Will Witherspoon's mother died unexpectedly and that the starting linebacker has been excused from practice. Nora Lee Cooper Witherspoon was 56.

Saints shut down Vikings for 14-9 win 09/09/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2010 12:34am]
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