The Saints benefitted at times from opportunistic and aggressive defense – INTs by CB Tracy Porter in the final minutes of both the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl – during the 2009 season en route to capturing their 1st Super Bowl win in franchise history.
But make no mistake, it was a high-powered and lethal offense that paced New Orleans throughout the season. The Saints ranked 1st in total offense and points per game during the 2009 season and in 2010 QB Drew Brees and Co. return an offense mostly intact from a year ago.
All of this means the Vikings defense will face a stiff test right out of the gates in 2010.
In last year’s NFC Championship Game, the Vikings defense was up to the challenge as they held New Orleans to just 257 total yards – 146 yards below the Saints season average. If the Vikings defense can come up with a similar effort on Thursday evening, odds are the Saints won’t be able to overcome it this time.
If the preseason is any indication, the Vikings defense looks to be in similar form to last year’s NFC title game effort. The Vikings finished the preseason ranked 4th among all NFL teams in points allowed per game (14.8) and sacks (13); the Vikings allowed just 59 points in the 4 exhibition games, which is the 4th lowest total in franchise history. The Vikings defense also ranked 5th in first downs allowed (62) and 7th in yards per game allowed (286.0).
In fairness we must point out that these are preseason numbers, and preseason results are not always an indication of how a team will perform in the regular season. At the same time, if the Vikings had struggled in the statistical areas mentioned above, many would be forecasting trouble for the defense as they prepare to face a loaded and explosive Saints offense.
What say you, Vikings fans? Keeping in mind how well the Vikings defense played in last year’s NFC Championship Game and also how well the defense played this preseason, will they be up to the task of containing New Orleans’ offense on Thursday night?
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The Vikings have signed 7 players to their practice squad. The players are:
S Colt Anderson
G Thomas Austin
WR Freddie Brown
FB Ryan D’Imperio
DT Tremaine Johnson
WR Logan Payne
CB Marcus Sherels
The Vikings are on the practice field now, but stay tuned to vikings.com to watch streamed press conferences of Brad Childress and Brett Favre following practice.
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After a long offseason, training camp and then the preseason, the regular season is now just a few days away. And what better way to kick it off than with a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game between the Vikings and New Orleans Saints?
That’s exactly what will happen on Thursday night as the Vikings and Saints kickoff the 2010 NFL season at the Louisiana Superdome.
Given that the game is the first of the 2010 regular season and represents a rematch in what was a tightly-contested NFC title game from a year ago, there will be no shortage of adrenaline in anyone’s bloodstream. But there’s one player in particular on the Vikings roster who will be anxious to get back out on the field and do what he does best – play football.
CB Antoine Winfield played in that NFC Championship Game, but Thursday night’s season-opener will be the first time Winfield has been on the field and fully healthy in quite some time. The 12-year veteran injured his foot in Week 6 last season and missed several weeks before he was able to work his way back into the lineup. And even though he got back on the field, he never got to 100% healthy.
“I’m very excited, considering I didn’t play that much last season,” Winfield said. “I’m anxious to get back out there and play. It’s a real important game for us. It’s the opening week, the whole world is going to be watching, so we’re very excited about it.”
While Winfield acknowledged the magnitude of the Vikings-Saints matchup to open the regular season, he also made note that Thursday night’s game is 1 of 16 on the schedule and thus it’s important that he and his teammates don’t let emotions cause them to stray from the game plan.
“Oh, game one,” Winfield said when asked if this game meant more than any other or if it was just the first of 16 on the season. “You can’t go into it trying to do too much, trying to jump routes and then giving up touchdowns. I just want to go out there, play my game and see what happens.”
While a few faces here and there have changed for both the Vikings and Saints since they last met in January, the core of each team remains intact. Saints QB Drew Brees will guide a Saints offense looking to be as explosive as they were a year ago while Vikings QB Brett Favre and Co. will look to match New Orleans stride for stride, just as they did in last year’s conference championship game.
“It’s going to be a fast-paced game,” Winfield said with a smile. “Our offense and their offense are very explosive. A lot of points may be put up on the board, [but] hopefully not for the Saints. It should be a great competition.”
Tags: Antoine Winfield
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A lot has happened since last week’s Monday Morning Mailbag, but the good news is this week’s Monday Morning Mailbag is just around the corner.
So, if you have a comment/question, submit it/them to the vikings.com Monday Morning Mailbag by sending an email to me at email@example.com or by submitting it to the comments section below this entry. Remember to include your name and town with each email.
We can’t post every comment/question, but I’ll respond to every question.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 27 Comments »