Fargo

New Orleans Saints tight end Dan Arnold rushed to the end zone to celebrate with teammate Tre'Quan Smith, who had just caught his first career touchdown.

Arnold glanced back toward midfield, where he saw Saints quarterback Drew Brees also celebrating the big play with a host of teammates due to its significance. Brees set the NFL's career passing yards record with the 62-yard touchdown pass.

"To be in that moment was a really cool experience," said Arnold, a Fargo Shanley graduate. "I looked back and everyone was celebrating with Drew. ... It was definitely really special."

Brees set the career passing record in a 43-19 home victory against Washington on Oct. 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. That was also Arnold's first NFL game. Arnold was on the field for the record-setting play.

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"It was kind of weird because it seems like everyone was open on that play," Arnold said. "It was kind of one of those moments that was meant to be."

The 23-year-old Arnold made the first two catches of his NFL career last Saturday in the Saints' 24-23 road victory at Baltimore. He's been active the past two games for New Orleans, which plays the Minnesota Vikings at 7:20 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"You are kind of relieved to get that first one out of the way," Arnold said of his first NFL catch. "It's definitely good to get those milestones out of the way. Then you look forward to the next ones."

Trish Arnold, Dan's mother, said it was a thrill to see her son get his first catch in the NFL.

"Pretty cool," Trish said. "One of the lines we used is 'Our boy finally realized his dreams.' ... It's surreal."

Dan played college football at NCAA Division III Wisconsin-Platteville, which is around 250 miles southeast of Minneapolis.

"I have a lot of college buddies who are coming," Dan said, referring to Sunday's game against the Vikings.

Dan played his senior high school football season at Shanley after his father, Luke Arnold, took a job in West Fargo. As a junior, Dan won an Illinois Class 7A state football title with Boylan High School in Rockford.

In 2012, Dan helped the Deacons win the North Dakota Class 2A state football championship. He finished that season with more than 1,000 receiving yards.

The 6-foot-6 Arnold was on injured reserve for the Saints last season before making the team's 53-man roster this season. Now he's catching passes from a future Hall of Famer in Brees.

Brees became the fourth player in NFL history to throw 500 career TDs in the Saints' victory against the Ravens last weekend. That was Dan's second career NFL game.

Dan said he's leaned on New Orleans veteran tight ends Ben Watson and Josh Hill. Watson has been in the NFL for 15 seasons.

"I have a lot more to grow in terms of doing everything right and doing everything with proper technique," Dan said. "The guys who stay in this league longer are technically sound."

Dan said he grew up a Green Bay Packers fan, but has friends who are Vikings fans.

"I've talked to a couple high school buddies," Arnold said. "The said we're rooting for you, but we hope the Vikings win."

Trish said she plans to be at Sunday's game along with Luke and other family members.

"What a blessing for (Dan) to be with that team," Trish said. "I think that is a really outstanding team."