Monday’s game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings ended with the saints losing by ten points, with a 19 – 29 final score. The game appeared close throughout the first, third, and fourth quarters, but it was the 3 – 13 advantage that the Vikings gained in the second quarter that helped win the game for them. New Orleans will now take time to regroup and reflect on their opening game loss, and here are some of the most important insights that any football fan or bettor can take from Saints vs. Vikings.
Saints vs. Vikings:
Minnesota’s Offense Was On Fire
Whatever the Vikings had asked of their offense, they delivered and even over delivered throughout this game. The passing game from Minnesota was flawless. One set of plays, led by quarterback Sam Bradford, saw the Vikings make a 74-yard touchdown that looked flawless in planning and execution. Bradford received a lot of criticism last season, particularly for his tendency to play short check down passes. Although there was evidence of this early in the game, he went on to show much more versatility and a more matured play style. After this game, Sam Bradford looks as good as any in the NFL, and the Vikings will take a lot of confidence from this win. Bradford made 346 yards in this game, and three touchdowns. He went 27 for 32, which is an impressive figure by anyone’s standards. Of course, his improved stats were helped significantly by the support that he had from his receivers. The offense of the team last year was nothing to get excited about. This year, it looks potent and damaging for any opponent. Both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen showed why they are considered some of the best receivers in the league. Thielen was particularly impressive, successfully taking nine catches, which gained him a total of 157 yards.It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the Saints were completely surprised by this new and improved Minnesota Vikings team, and it wasn’t just the offense that impressed. The defenders created some important red zone stops, and put pressure on Saints quarterback Drew Brees throughout every quarter. When the Saints had possession they couldn’t find openings and they couldn’t make territory, and were forced into field goals just to be able to remain competitive.
Is There Trouble Between Saints Coach Sean Payton and Running Back Adrian Peterson?
Saints fans and bettors will be disappointed by the fact that Sean Payton limited playtime for running back Adrian Peterson. He was barely on the field, and on the sidelines he didn’t appear to be overly happy with the fact. It’s possible that Payton wanted to get more time for Alvin Kamara, one of the team’s promising rookies, and in defense of Payton, Kamara stepped up in this first game and proved that he is a rising talent in the team. With Peterson only ending the game with six carries and making 18 yards, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic between him and Sean Payton will play out for the rest of the season.Camera shots seemed to indicate that Payton and Peterson were involved in some heated exchanges during the game, but both coach and player have denied there being any discord between the two. Peterson said “we weren’t in any heated exchange. No. Listen, I’d tell you if we were in a heated exchange, so why don’t you ask him? He was into it, we were all into it, there was none that I can recall. And I’m being honest.” When Peterson was grilled by the media, he said that he was “just communicating with him [Payton]. Obviously, the competitor that I am, I want to be in every snap. But I don’t make those calls.”A number of fans across the internet seemed highly disappointed by Payton’s decision not to use Peterson more. Many have called it a waste of talent. However, a number of analysts have pointed out that the limited play time might become the norm for Peterson. He’s no longer the young player that was running 20 carries per game, and he may find his usage limited to special teams.
The Saints Defense Hasn’t Improved
In the pre-season there were some hints that the Saints were going to come into the 2017 season with an improved defense. In this first game, it doesn’t quite look that way. There were familiar problems to what we’ve seen in the pass, including holes in the coverage that allow deep balls. Sam Bradford wasn’t at all upset by the Saints defense, which is evident with him completing 27 of his 32 passes. He was only sacked once, and there were no interceptions. For a defense to let an opposing quarterback completely control the game, is an unforgiveable offense.Even when players were where they needed to be, they often came out second best. Defensive back De’Vante Harris came up against Vikings’ Stefon Diggs a few times, and came out the victim.
What Happens Now for the Saints?
With this most recent game being held on a Monday, the team will have just under six days to prepare for the New England Patriots. The Patriots are coming off of a loss to the Chiefs, where they failed to score any points in the fourth quarter, with the Chiefs scoring 21. That game was ultimately lost 42 – 27. Comparing the Patriots to the Saints, it hard to tell which team is stronger at this time, but they will both go into Week 2 with something to prove.The Saints ended last season with a 7 – 9 losing record, and this season was supposed to be an opportunity to turn that around. If first indications are anything to go by, they have a lot to improve if they want a better record and a shot at the playoffs this season.