Saints vs. Vikings: Preview, score prediction for Week 1

Saints vs. Vikings 2017: Start time, TV schedule for ‘Monday Night Football’

In 2016, the Minnesota Vikings ran out to a 5-0 start before falling back to earth like a malfunctioning satellite, ending their year at 8-8 and outside the playoffs. On Monday, they’ll look to recapture that early season matchup against the New Orleans Saints. The first Monday Night Football game of the fall kicks off at 7:10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN (live stream).

Sep 21, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Vikings 20-9. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings and Saints will each look to shake off last season’s mediocrity as they embark on a blossoming new campaign. For Minnesota, this fall will be about following up on 2016’s abandoned promise. For New Orleans, the upcoming season could be the team’s last chance to cement Drew Brees’ legacy with a second Super Bowl championship.

Oh, and Adrian Peterson returns to Minnesota after being released by the only NFL team he’d ever known last spring.

Time, TV channel, and streaming info

  • Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
  • Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • TV: ESPN
  • Streaming: WatchESPN
  • Odds: Minnesota is favored by 3.5 points.

Saints at Vikings news:

  • The only path for the Saints to make it back to the Super Bowl hinges on an improved defense.

This defense finished 27th overall last season. It was last in the league vs. the pass (273.8 yards allowed per game). It was next-to-last in points allowed (454). It was 27th in fewest sacks gained (30). It also trudged through a barrage of injuries.

  • The best fan to show up during the Vikings’ preseason was one very sleepy dog.
  • The Vikings face Adrian Peterson for the first time in franchise history, and Minnesota’s defenders are pretty psyched about that.

“Before, when he was here, we couldn’t tackle him. But now, it’s a must to tackle him. It’s going to be pretty fun. … You have that extra adrenaline to the point where you want to stop him, so you can talk trash later in the day.”

The Saints have three big concerns to worry about this fall, and they’re all doozies.

1. Squandering another year of one of the best QBs to ever play the game in Drew Brees;

2. Poor use of salary cap funds; and

3. One of the worst defenses in the NFL for what seems like forever.

Can Dalvin Cook replace Adrian Peterson?

Adrian Peterson was injured for most of 2016 and not especially good when healthy. As a result, the Vikings ranked dead last in rushing offense last fall, gaining just 3.2 yards per carry as a team. Enter Cook, Florida State’s all-time rushing leader and a dynamic talent who can evade tacklers or drag them into the end zone. Minnesota acquired him with the 41st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Vikings’ shaky offensive line may struggle to give him space, but Cook’s NCAA bonafides give the team an extra weapon this winter.

Saints at Vikings prediction:

SB Nation’s panel of nine experts lean toward the home team, with six choosing the Vikings to emerge from Monday night with a 1-0 record. Minnesota’s pass defense could be enough to slow Brees’ down long enough to grind out a win; the Vikes limited opposing passers to a paltry 83.0 rating last fall — despite seeing Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford a combined four times — and ranked fifth in aerial defense.

Headlining the first Monday Night Football game are the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. The stakes are high for both teams in this first game including how the Vikings will fare without Adrian Peterson leading their offense and if the Saints defense will show up.

The Saints have one of the best offenses in the league but are always stifled by a poor defense. During the offseason, the team made great strides to improve their defense and they had a stellar preseason. This game will be their first outing against a first-team offense and see if they’re actually worth the hype or if it was a couple favorable preseason matchups.

As for the Vikings, they lost Adrian Peterson to New Orleans and lost some other good free agents. The team has the exact opposite problem of the Saints, though. They have an extremely talented defense, but not such a great offense. With Sam Bradford at the helm last year, the Vikings started off strong before falling flat.

This first game will be a test for both teams, heading into the regular season. A win for either team could already have playoff buzz behind it or murmurs of another mediocre season. Us football fans are always quick to jump the gun but there are a few sure-fire ways the teams can succeed.

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