Week 1 of the NFL season ended on Monday Night Football with the Saints taking on the Vikings in what was supposed to be one of the more anticipated games with former Vikings great Adrian Peterson taking on his old team with his new the the New Orleans Saints. Ultimately this game was completely one sided as the Vikings beat the Saints 29-19. Some stats from the game include between Peterson, Ingram, and Kamera 53 yards rushing on 19 carries, Sam Bradford looked like Tom Brady throwing for 346 yards and 3 TDs, overall the Saints defense allowed 470 total offensive yards including a 100 yard game by rookie Dalvin Cook, who set a Vikings rookie record for most rushing yards in a game held by Adrian Peterson before… Now lets fast forward to the divisional round of the playoffs same opponent, however a lot has changed since week 1.
Lets take a look at these teams and what all has changed first by looking at the Vikings sadly rookie sensation (who was one of my OROF guys) Dalvin Cook suffered a torn ACL in week 4 against the Detroit Lions. One of the biggest surprises for this Viking team has been the emergence of QB Case Keenum who took over for the once again injuried Sam Bradford. He went from the forgotten man to the man for the Vikings and couldn’t have played any better this year throwing for 3,547 yards and tossing 22 TDs to only 7 INTs we have to give head coach Mike Zimmer credit where its due, to get his team in this position is something only a great NFL coach can do. One thing that was not changed has been this Minnesota Viking defense which has been really good all season ranking as a top 10 unit in most defensive category.
Now lets look at this Saints team, first as we all know running back Adrian Peterson is no longer on the team. After the win in London the Saints traded away the future hall of fame back to the Cardinals after rookie running back Alvin Kamera made Peterson expendable. Kamera (who should win OROF) finished the year with 1,554 total yards and 15 total TDs which is very very impressive not to mention Mark Ingram finished with 1,540 total yards (1,124 rushing) and 12 TDs they became the only duo in NFL first to each have 1,500 all purpose yards. The offense was always through Drew Brees, this year however the rushing game got it done for the team. Now Drew Brees still had a very good year setting a completion record with 72% passes completed throwing for 4,000 yards and last week against the panthers proved he can still get it done. The real story has been this defense which went for last to 17th which has been a huge difference for this team with Cameron Jordan having a greaty season and most importantly his secondary is much different Ken Crawly wasn’t active the Saints played Devante Harris and got picked on the whole game, and Kenny Vacarro is now on IR, however Von Bell has filled in nicely and Marshon Lattimore has played lights out the whole year and is more than ready for a rematch.
This will be the game of the year whoever wins this game will go to the Super Bowl. These teams gave grown so much and a lot has changed between these teams, and this game will be fun to watch as Mike Zimmers defense takes on Sean Paytons offesne and a much improved Saints defense taking on Case Keenum and the Vikings offense.