Brian Hoyer atoned for three interceptions in his second career start, connecting with tight end Jordan Cameron on a 7-yard touchdown pass in the final minute to lift visiting Cleveland over Minnesota.
Hoyer threw three touchdown passes and completed 30-for-54 passes for 321 yards for the Browns (1-2), who scored 24 points in the first half after recording only 16 in their first two games. Cameron caught three scoring passes and wide receiver Josh Gordon had 10 receptions for 146 yards and one touchdown in his return from a two-game suspension, while Cleveland’s defense totaled six sacks.
Christian Ponder ran for two touchdowns and was 25-for-42 passing for 228 yards and one interception as the Vikings (0-3) dropped their home opener. Adrian Peterson also had a touchdown as part of 88 yards on 25 carries, while linebackers Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson and safety Harrison Smith each had an interception.
Minnesota tied the game with 2:36 left in the third quarter on Ponder’s second rushing touchdown after Henderson intercepted Hoyer and returned it to Cleveland’s 9-yard line. The Vikings took a 27-24 lead on a 30-yard field goal by Blair Walsh early in the fourth quarter, but Hoyer engineered an 11-play, 55-yard drive that culminated in a 7-yard toss to Cameron to put the Browns ahead with 51 seconds remaining in the contest.
Cleveland scored 10 points off a pair of trick plays to take a 24-17 lead into halftime. Defensive back Josh Aubrey rushed for a 34-yard gain on a fake punt to set up a 38-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff midway through the second quarter and Cameron caught his second touchdown pass - thrown by punter Spencer Lanning - on a fake field goal with 3:39 remaining in the first half.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Hoyer entered the game with two career touchdown passes in 15 games over three seasons with the New England Patriots and one with the Arizona Cardinals, where he made his only other NFL start. … Minnesota also started 0-3 in 2011 en route to a 3-13 finish. … Browns RB Willis McGahee, signed after the team traded RB Trent Richardson to Indianapolis on Wednesday, had nine yards on eight carries.