Houston and Minnesota can't wait to put that to use when the games actually count.
"Once I got out there and heard the fans and the kickoff, it kind of set in and all the jitters went away," said Hopkins, the 27th pick in the draft, who finished with four receptions for 52 yards.
Patterson, taken two slots later out of Tennessee, caught four passes for 54 yards and returned the opening kickoff 50 yards.
Patterson picked up enough energy from the preseason game crowd to push through some early fatigue, and the long run "took some pressure off" him.
"I can't wait until a regular season game to see how crazy that's going to be," he said.
Ponder, entering a critical third season for his future as Minnesota's quarterback, only took those two snaps.
"Obviously we would've liked to have a touchdown and a long drive, but it is what it is," Ponder said. "We've got a ton of practice left to get better."
The quick end tempted Frazier to keep Ponder and the other starters in for a second possession.
"Then I had to remind myself of why we made the decision that we were going to go one series ... whether it was two plays, three plays, 10 plays," the coach said.
Then when the third teamers took over after halftime, Case Keenum completed 13 of 18 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Ray Graham ran for a score, too.
He gave them a scare when he stayed down with an injury to his left knee, but he was able to walk off on his own.
"He should be fine. We could've put him back in the game," Frazier said.
Foster has been on the physically unable to perform list, first for a strained calf and now with a back issue, so the chance of him carrying the ball in a preseason game this month is slim.
After finishing seventh in the NFL in total yards last season and setting a team record by averaging 26 points per game on their way to a franchise-best 12-4 finish and second straight playoff appearance, the Texans are on track for another elite performance if they can keep their core players healthy.
Adding Hopkins, the sure-handed kid from Clemson, can't hurt. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Hopkins was targeted five times in the first half, including by Yates when he had a one-on-one matchup with Bobby Felder along the sideline. He leaped over the cornerback's head to haul in the ball and cradle it close as he fell to the turf in the end zone.
"He's been doing that all camp. If you give him a chance with the ball he's going to make the play," coach Gary Kubiak said, adding: "That's why he's here, and it's just fun to watch these young players doing good things."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press