4 games that define the Vikings intense rivalry with the Saints
By Randy Smith
2020 Christmas Day Game
Christmas is supposed to be a time of cheer and bringing friends and family together, not to be reminded of how much misery professional sports can bring. But in the Week 16 matchup between the Vikings and Saints back in 2020, all of the above might have occurred.
Minnesota was defeated by the Saints to a blowout 52-33 loss, in part to New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara’s six-touchdown performance against a depleted Vikings defense. While some may argue this was the beginning of the end for head coach Mike Zimmer, the COVID-19 compromised season certainly didn’t help the Vikings, especially in this game.
The Saints may have found some redemption for obliterating the Vikings in part to the two playoff losses and were ready to march on from a 12-4 record only to lose to the eventual Super Bowl winners that season in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Divisional Round.
That game and that season were the last for New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, as well. So for the Vikings and Saints, their misery started with Brees winning and ended with Brees winning.
In the Vikings’ upcoming game against New Orleans, it will be the first in the post-Brees era, as they will be facing Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton under center. It will also be the first matchup between these two teams in the post-Mike Zimmer era and the post-Sean Payton era for the Saints.
So while this weekend may be a new game lot of ways, the constant is that it’s Vikings and Saints, and there will be more than enough to start something new on an old, storied rivalry that these four games serve as anchors of those times.