NFL Week 3 preview: Vikings at Saints
Minnesota Vikings (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-2) Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans TV: FOX TV announcers: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale *Keys to the game: All Vikings RB Matt Asiata has to do is capably f...
Minnesota Vikings (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-2)
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans
- TV: FOX
- TV announcers: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale
*Keys to the game: All Vikings RB Matt Asiata has to do is capably fill the shoes of 10,000-yard rusher Adrian Peterson, and life should go swimmingly for QB Matt Cassel in the Saints' hostile dome-field environs. Turnover-prone Cassel will get all the kitchen-sink blitz combos Saints coordinator Rob Ryan can muster after Ryan was publicly undressed (verbally, of course) by coach Sean Payton after another final-possession defeat in Cleveland.
Saints QB Drew Brees has nine touchdowns in three career games in the series and will attack liberally, while New Orleans continues to push a running game averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Though Mark Ingram is out, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas are capable and the Vikings could not slow New England's ground game last week. A repeat would be crippling, opening Brees to fling it around to TE Jimmy Graham and rookie deep threat Brandin Cooks.
*Matchup to watch - Brees vs. Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes: FS Harrison Smith plays a rover role, and coach Mike Zimmer isn't shy about asking corners to go solo on the edge. Rhodes, the team's best corner, was a target of the Patriots. He missed a tackle that led to a 44-yard gain and was flagged three times in the third quarter. How short is his memory?
*Player spotlight - Vikings LB Chad Greenway: He is likely to give it a go with a heavily bandaged broken hand and, given his responsibilities in coverage against Thomas and Graham, tests are coming early and often.
*Fast facts: Graham has 24 TD catches in his last 24 home games. ... The Vikings are 32nd in the NFL in passing with 166 yards per game.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
The Saints get a ninth consecutive home victory using a familiar recipe - build a lead and get after the quarterback.
*Our pick: Saints 33-16