''This was everything I've been working for my whole life, my first real NFL regular-season game,'' Maiava said.
Maiava, a fourth-round draft pick out of Southern California, combined with James Davis to bring down Percy Harvin at the 30-yard line on a kickoff return after the Browns kicked a field goal on the game's opening possession.
''I tried to go for the ball, but I didn't want to try for something that would take too long,'' Maiava said.
Maiava was also flagged for one penalty, a holding call on a kickoff return by Josh Cribbs in the third quarter. Listed as a second-string linebacker, Maiava played exclusively on special teams Sunday.
Maiava had 14 tackles in the preseason, tied for the team lead.
''I was worried about, after preseason, guys were saying how it's going to be a lot faster in the regular season, and I was thinking, 'I can't run any faster than this,' but it was OK,'' he said. ''Football is football.''
The Browns will play on the road against the Denver Broncos next Sunday.
Adrian Peterson ran for 180 yards and three touchdowns for the Vikings, and Brett Favre passed for 110 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Favre made his 270th consecutive start, tying the NFL record set by former Viking Jim Marshall.
''I had a blast,'' Favre said. ''It wasn't a 400-yard passing game, but it doesn't have to be. As long as we win, that's what it's all about.''