After the Vikings fell to the Saints in last year's NFC Championship Game, the assertion was made from many different corners that the Saints had given the rest of the NFL the "blueprint" to beat the Minnesota Vikings. This assertion, quite frankly, is laughable at best. This "blueprint" was based largely around hitting Brett Favre. . .basically, that if you hit Brett Favre enough times, you could eventually beat the Minnesota Vikings.
Yeah. . .hitting the other team's quarterback is apparently a big secret in NFL circles. I mean, don't tell me that you're not as shocked as I am about this sort of thing.
Gregg Williams, the loud-mouthed defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, has said that the Saints are going to take a similar approach in tomorrow night's ball game. Quite frankly, I hope that this is the case. Why? Because in the NFC Championship Game, the "blueprint" apparently consisted of two things:
1) Worrying significantly more about hitting Brett Favre than about allowing the Minnesota offense to march up and down the field at will
2) Crossing your fingers and hoping like hell that a team that only turned the ball over 18 times in their first 17 games of the season would manage to turn it over five times in one night
That would be a great blueprint for the Saints to follow tomorrow night, and one that I would definitely advise every team in the NFL to employ against the Vikings as the season progresses. To put this mildly, there is no way in hell that the Vikings turn the ball over five times tomorrow night. There's also a good likelihood that they will, once again, march up and down the field on the Saints' defense. The Saints will be without Darren Sharper, who will back up his off-season arrogance with a spot on the Saints' Physically Unable to Perform list, and they've also got issues at the linebacker positions, where Jonathan Vilma has a groin injury, and it's not yet known who will start at one of the LB spots after the Saints put starter Jonathan Casillas on injured reserve.
Backup linebackers, hobbled linebackers, and defensive tackles that are suspect at best against Adrian Peterson? Call me crazy, but I sort of like that match-up for the Vikings.
The Vikings need to combat the Saints' super-duper, uber-secret "hitting the quarterback" blueprint with another little-known NFL strategy. . ."holding on to the football." Quite simply, if the Vikings hold on to the football against the Saints and don't gift them five turnovers, they will win. It will also help if the Ronnie Milsap-led crew from the NFC Championship Game isn't officiating the festivities again this time around, but the turnover battle is the biggest part of things.
Hold on to the football. Win the game. It's that easy.