Saints Vikings Football

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, right, reacts to a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Jim Mone

The New Orleans Saints defense hurt itself early in the first half by committing three personal fouls. 

Rookie free safety Marcus Williams was flagged for hitting Stefon Diggs out of bounds, rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone was flagged for a hit on a defenseless player on a screen and safety Kenny Vaccaro was flagged for hitting a receiver in the second quarter.

Sean Payton wasn't happy that his defense gave up so many free yards. 

"Two of them came early," Payton said. "The one drive, it was 30 yards in fouls, so it wasn't good enough. Not good enough."

Payton said the Saints will review the hits to get a better idea of what happened. 

"The one, the hit out of bounds wasn't a smart foul; the defenseless player happened pretty quick," Payton said. "Each one, into itself, we'll look at and study."

Payton did take issue with the referees on one play, protesting after a flag for defensive holding was picked up by referee Gene Steratore. 

Steratore explained that he thought the ball was out of Drew Brees' hand. 

"The call was holding, and Gene felt like if the ball was out of the quarterback's hands, it would have to be interference," Payton said. "Obviously, I saw Brandon on the ground."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.