Vikings rough up Rams rookie QB Bradford, gain over 400 yards in win

ST. LOUIS -- Sam Bradford took the field to a big ovation. Soon enough, reality sank in for the centerpiece of the Rams' rebuilding effort.

Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, had an early case of the jitters, short-arming a pitch and bobbling a snap the first two plays, looked poised while hitting four of his first five passes, then ended with an extended rough patch in the Minnesota Vikings' 28-7 preseason-opening victory Saturday night.

"It was fun to get out there, get hit a couple times, get hit, get knocked down, get back up," Bradford said. "Just getting back into the flow of a football game was fun."

Sage Rosenfels, chasing Tarvaris Jackson for the Vikings' quarterback job while Brett Favre waffles on his future, was a standout even though both starting wide receivers are out with injuries. Rosenfels threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns during the second quarter against the Rams' second-teamers, and he added a 71-yard scoring toss to Marko Mitchell in the third quarter, finishing 23-of-34 passing for 310 yards.

Rosenfels knew before the game that he would receive a lot of playing time.

"Mentally, I was going into the game thinking like it's a full game, it's not going to be one series or two series and out," Rosenfels said. "I got more and more comfortable as the game went on. It's been a while since I've been out there, seeing real live action. A lot of guys did a lot of good things."

Jackson started for the Viking, but he wasn't out there for long, taking six snaps on the opening series while going 2 of 4 for 11 yards.

Vikings coach Brad Childress had no news on the Favre front.

"I didn't have a vision before the game. Nothing's changed," Childress said. "You know, you can't have your cell phones with you out on the sidelines."

Bradford completed just two of his last eight passes against Vikings second-teamers, finishing 6 of 13 for 57 yards while being sacked four times. The Vikings gave the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner's surgically repaired right shoulder a battle test, with Jayme Mitchell recording 1.5 sacks on consecutive plays in the second quarter.

"I took a couple, landed on the shoulder," Bradford said. "It's not sore at all. We'll see tomorrow how it feels, but right now it feels great."

Bradford's debut probably should be graded on a curve, given that Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson didn't take a snap and the Rams were the NFL's puniest offense even with him while going 1-15 last season. Jackson and Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson both dressed but only watched.

The Rams were handicapped the most, being outgained 414-150, even though Childress took out all the starters except center Jon Cooper after the first series.

"In the first quarter, we did a decent job," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "After that, I think it's obvious we've got a lot of things to work on, both sides of the ball.

"We've got plenty of time, nobody's panicking."

One of the players most victimized by the Vikings was right tackle Jason Smith, the second overall pick last year, who has been bothered by a broken toe for much of training camp.

St. Louis is 6-42 the last three seasons, a big reason the Edward Jones Dome was officially just two-thirds full with announced attendance of 40,801 on Saturday.

Bradford is the backup for now behind veteran A.J. Feeley. But Feeley was shaky, narrowly avoiding interceptions on two passes that could have been returned for touchdowns while going 3 of 6 for 19 yards.

Danny Amendola scored on a 93-yard punt return for the Rams, but he fumbled away his next chance at the St. Louis 16, leading to Rosenfels' 2-yard touchdown pass to Logan Payne five plays later to tie it at 7. Vikings tight end Garrett Mills whipped fellow University of Tulsa alum Chris Chamberlain, a Rams linebacker, on a 65-yard scoring toss on the next series, putting the Minnesota ahead.

"Better now than in the regular season," Amendola said. "Try to get the kinks worked out."

Six Vikings offensive players didn't play. Percy Harvin has missed all but two days of training camp because of migraine headaches and a funeral, and fellow wide receiver Sidney Rice has a hip injury.

Mills had four catches for 106 yards and one touchdown, Payne had seven catches for 52 yards and one touchdown, and Mickey Shuler added a 2-yard scoring grab from Joe Webb.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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