Minnesota Vikings At New Orleans Saints: 3 Keys To Victory


The Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to take on the New Orleans Saints from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Louisiana tomorrow.  The Vikings organization has endured a lot of hardships over the last couple weeks that has taken the focus away from the game of football, but that won’t stop the game from happening on Sunday.

In order for Minnesota to overcome the odds against them and come out of New Orleans with a victory, three very important things must happen.  Here are my three keys to victory for the Vikings against the Saints:

Sep 14, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tackle Matt Kalil (75) against the New England Patriots at TCF Bank Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Vikings 30-7. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Secure the offensive line.  Let’s be honest, Matt Kalil has been abysmal this year.  When you couple that with the already disappointing play of Charlie Johnson at left guard, that entire side of the offensive line has been a liability.  Most of the pressure that has gotten to the quarterback so far this year has beaten one of those two players this season.  When Matt Cassel is pressured, he loses faith in the team’s ability to secure the pocket and ends up either making bad decisions or throwing passes off target.  Minnesota is currently DEAD LAST in the NFL in passing yards, gaining only 333 yards through the air during their first two games.  While 4 interceptions in one game (like last week’s effort against the Patriots) is not acceptable for any quarterback, a little help from his linemen would make a huge difference.

  • Get pressure on Drew Brees.  The Saints have allowed only two sacks in their first two regular season games.  Meanwhile, the Vikings have accumulated six quarterback sacks in their first two games, tying them for 6th in the NFL in the statistic.  This Minnesota Vikings team is built to get pressure on a quarterback from any spot on the field.  Look for them to utilize less blitzes against the stout New Orleans defensive line and send only 4 or 5 players to chase the QB on most plays.  With Xavier Rhodes struggling recently, the secondary needs all the help they can get against a quarterback with surgical accuracy on his passes like Drew Brees.
  • Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

    The Minnesota Vikings need to find their go-to guy.  With Adrian Peterson on the shelf for the unforeseeable future, Minnesota needs to find a player that can help shoulder the weight of the offense.  That most likely won’t be veteran running back Matt Asiata, who only gained 36  yards on 15 carries while picking up 2 first downs in his only start this year.  The team may want to look to dynamic rookie running back Jerick McKinnon for a possible spark, but will most likely expect that production to be picked up by dynamic WR Cordarrelle Patterson or veteran pass catcher Greg Jennings.

    If the Minnesota Vikings can accomplish these three things on Sunday, they stand a solid chance of getting a win.  However, it won’t be easy for this team to focus on the game of football with all the drama and gloom surrounding the team recently.  If the Vikings can win games without Peterson on the field, perhaps the focus of the national media will instead shift to football when talking about the NFL.

    Nah, who am I kidding.  That’ll never happen.