NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS MINNESOTA VIKINGS LIVE STREAM - Monday Night Football action and the NFC South will duke it out with the NFC North as the New Orleans Saints take on the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Saints have had three straight 7-9 seasons and will be looking to break that trend this year, while the Vikings went just 8-8 a year ago and will be looking to ride their defense back to the postseason after missing it last year. Watch NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS MINNESOTA VIKINGS Live Stream free online on your PC, laptop, Mac, I-pad, Tab, Ps4/3, I-phone Android or any other online device.
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New Orleans Saints -
For as long as Drew Brees is under center, the New Orleans Saints’ offense is in good hands.
Last season, Brees was the only quarterback in the NFL to reach the 5,000-yard passing mark, which was also the fifth time that he’d done so in his illustrious career. The 38-year-old ageless wonder also finished the season with an even 70-percent completion percentage, meaning his passing game’s very efficient as it is prolific like in seasons past.
Although New Orleans lost its top receiver in Brandin Cooks to New England, rookie wideout Michael Thomas (92 receptions, 1,137 yards and nine TDs) proved in his debut season that he’s capable of taking over as the team’s top receiving option. The Saints’ backfield also got an overhaul of sorts by getting future Hall-of-Fame running back Adrian Peterson, who could still emerge as an elite rusher under a new team despite concerns with his durability and age, and as a fine complimentary piece in the backfield with Mark Ingram.
The Saints still have a suspect defense, although that unit saw a slight improvement in 2016 by no longer ranking in the bottom of nearly every defensive category in 2015. Facing a relatively-inept Minnesota offense in Week 1 is a good starting point to see how much or how little the D has carried over its improvements the last time out.
It’s also worth noting that the Saints have won four-straight meetings against the Vikings since 2010, albeit that they only went 2-2 against the spread during those contests.
New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings
Where: US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
When: Monday, September 11, 2017, 7:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Minnesota Vikings -
In essence, the Minnesota Vikings are the polar opposites of the Saints. They’re powered by a defense that ranked third in the league in yards allowed in 2016 and was one of just eight teams in the NFL to surrender less than 20 points on average per game. However, their inept offense couldn’t keep up with most teams shortly after key pieces on defense started getting injured, particularly cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.
Strangely enough, quarterback Sam Bradford outdid Brees in passing efficiency, setting a new single-season record for completion percentage at 71.6 percent. However, Bradford finished with less than 4,000 passing yards given his reluctance to take shots downfield, which inevitably hurt his team’s overall offensive production.
Expect the Vikings offense to be just as timid as it was, especially with its offensive line barely getting upgrades to fix the running game. Minnesota had the worst rushing offense in the league last season, which means first-round rookie running back Dalvin Cook will need to find running lanes on his own on more occasions than none.
On a positive note, the Vikes went a decent 5-3 at home last season and an even better 6-2 record against the spread in those contests. On the other hand, failing to make any significant moves during the offseason to improve either side of the ball may come back to haunt them early on.
SERIES HISTORY: 29th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 18-10. Vikings are 11-3 at home, but will be playing the Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time. The Saints have won the past three regular-season meetings and the past four overall. The last time these teams met in Minnesota, the Saints won 42-20 at the Metrodome late in the 2011 season. Drew Brees completed 32 of 40 passes for 412 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions and a 149.2 pass rating before taking a seat early in the fourth quarter. The teams have met in the playoffs three times. The Vikings won the first two, but lost in the NFC title game in overtime at New Orleans in January 2010. The game also served as one of the primary examples that uncovered the Saints' infamous "Bountygate" scandal.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Saints will try to find balance on an offense missing their starting left tackle and one of its top receivers while breaking in a new running back-by-committee approach. The biggest challenge will be to utilize Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara and establish a consistent run game against the Vikings' strong interior defense. When Drew Brees throws, he won't have his No. 2 returning receiver, Willie Snead, available because of suspension.
The Vikings have the superior defense, but they can't stay on the field all day with Drew Brees and all those Saints weapons. The revamped offensive line will have to start paying off immediately in first downs. It must open some holes for Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray. That will put the play-action passes in play, which will allow Sam Bradford to showcase his accuracy down the field.
Defensively, the Vikings will need to absorb the fury that Peterson is sure to bring early on.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Saints RB Adrian Peterson vs. Vikings MLB Eric Kendricks. Kendricks has led the Vikings in tackles in each of his first two seasons. Peterson is a former All-Pro and league MVP who spent his first 10 seasons in Minnesota. Yes, Peterson is now a complementary player on Drew Brees' team. He's not even the starter or primary back at this point. But the Saints no doubt will try to take advantage of Peterson's power and sheer rage over playing his former team on their field on 'Monday Night Football.'
--Vikings OTs Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers vs. Saints DEs Alex Okafor and Cam Jordan. The Vikings signed Reiff and Remmers from the Lions and the Panthers to upgrade the running game and better protect Sam Bradford. The Saints signed Okafor to complement Jordan and upgrade the Saints' pass rush.
SAINTS NOTABLE ROOKIE: Cornerback Marshon Lattimore. The first of the Saints' two first-round draft choices, Lattimore will get a chance to have an impact right away in the absence of starter Delvin Breaux. Though unclear whether Lattimore will start, he will definitely get significant playing time as Breaux recovers from recent surgery on a broken fibula.
VIKINGS NOTABLE ROOKIE: Running back Dalvin Cook. Cook didn't have a wow preseason, but he was there every day, all summer, grinding and learning the offense while veteran Latavius Murray spent most of the offseason recovering from ankle surgery. Cook, a second-round draft pick, has the speed, quickness and versatility to be a factor in the run game and pass game.
FAST FACTS: New Orleans RB Adrian Peterson can reach 1,000 rushing yards in Week 1 games with 115 on Monday night. He would become the fifth player in NFL history to reach that milestone. ... The Saints have become slow starters in recent years, dropping seven consecutive September matchups. ... Minnesota used 12 starters on the offensive line last year, which helps explain how it went from 5-0 to 8-8 and out of the playoffs. For Monday night's game, it is expected to trot out three new starters and play a fourth player at a different position than the one at which he started in 2016.
PREDICTION: The Vikings have been fast starters under coach Mike Zimmer, a marked contrast from the opponent they face Monday night. Peterson will be primed to burn his former team, but trends suggest a Minnesota victory.
OUR PICK: Vikings, 24-20.