Tom Brady beat Minnesota’s relentless rushing defense by simply throwing over it, over and over again.
Brad Johnson? He was no match for New England’s unflappable quarterback, making a handful of uncharacteristic mistakes.
Brady passed for 372 yards and threw touchdowns to four receivers, quieting another loud crowd and leading the Patriots past the Vikings, 31-7, on Monday night.
“We were playing a great defense on the road, and the plan was to come out and put the ball in the air a little bit,” said a grinning Brady. “The receivers made a lot of great plays, and it was a lot of fun, needless to say.”
Johnson, who had three of his passes intercepted, was 20 of 33 for 185 yards. Minnesota’s only score was a 71-yard punt return by Mewelde Moore, but New England rookie Laurence Maroney -- playing in the stadium where he became a college star -- answered that with a 74-yard kickoff return.
The Patriots (6-1), who have won six consecutive games on the road, play host to Indianapolis (7-0) on Sunday.
The Vikings (4-3) proved they weren’t in their opponent’s class just yet. Playing their first Monday night home game in five years, they were consistently outschemed and outworked.
Brady hasn’t lost in 10 NFL games indoors. Save for an up-for-grabs pass up the sideline that Darren Sharper snagged for a one-handed interception as he fell down in the first quarter, Brady was brilliant.
“You come into this environment, and you see the fans leaving midway through the fourth quarter,” Brady said. “We played better than we’ve been playing.”
The Vikings had held every prior opponent to 19 points or fewer and entered the game ranked seventh in the league in total yards given up.