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Stock Market Report: Saints

The Vikings had a lot of questions entering this game. They answered them all, at least for one night.

Adrian Peterson leads the Saints out on to US Bank Stadium against the Vikings on Monday night Football.
David Stefano

Hi kids! Sorry I’ve been so scarce, but I spent the last week and then some in France on vacation. I love France for a lot of reasons, and one of them is the love-hate relationship many of her citizens have with Napoleon Bonaparte, the early 19th century scourge of Europe. French citizens credit Napoleon with essentially creating modern day France, and her transition from a monarchy into today’s modern social democracy, with a pit stop at Emperor-Dictator in between that ran roughshod through Europe and North Africa.

Yet, with the good, there’s a lot of constant warring with the rest of Europe, for example. That led to the destruction of his Army in Russia, an abdication and exile, and then what was supposed to be a triumphant return. Only instead of triumph and glory, Napoleon met his most ignominious and final defeat at Waterloo, which led to his final exile and banishment from his homeland forever.

And tonight, Adrian Peterson’s career arc met Napoleon’s, in many respects, and on a much smaller scale. Since, you know, this is just sports, and not geopolitics. He is arguably the Greatest Viking Of Them All, who took the Vikings to the cusp of glory in 2009. But he had a lot of good and bad that fans will spend years reconciling, and at the end, most of us were ready for him to be gone. He was exiled to New Orleans, but he was also hoping for one final, triumphant moment in a final return. Only instead of walking out of US Bank Stadium victorious, he walked in to his own Waterloo. Because he surely didn’t do any running tonight, did he Abba?

My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender

Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way

The history book on the shelf Is always repeating itself

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war

Waterloo - Promise to love you for ever more

Waterloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to

Waterloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you

Waterloo - Finally facing my Waterloo

My, my, I tried to hold you back but you were stronger

Oh yeah, and now it seems my only chance is giving up the fight

And how could I ever refuse

I feel like I win when I loooooooooose

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war

Waterloo - Promise to love you for ever more

Waterloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to

Waterloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you

Waterloo - Finally facing my Waterloo

Your Vive La Bradford SMR follows.

Blue Chip Stocks:

Sam Bradford, QB: The Vikings first two drives were kind of your typical Vikings, and they ended with field goals, not touchdowns, thanks in large part to Sam Bradford checking down. Things were getting a little restless, and at the end of the first half, Bradford started slingin’ it. After a 14 play drive that ended in a field goal, and then a three an out, Bradford threw three passes of 39, 21, and 18 yards for a 3 play TD drive. On the last series of the half, Bradford orchestrated a 10 play, 95 yard TD drive that culminated in a ridiculous Stefon Diggs catch. All night long, Bradford made one throw after another, spreading the ball all over the field, with uncanny accuracy short, medium, and deep. He ended up 27-32 for 346 yards, 3 TD’s, a 10.8 ypa, and the shutting up of a lot of ‘Checkdown Sam’ critics.

Xavier Rhodes, CB: His job, every week, is to take the best receiver the opponent has, in this case Michael Thomas, and putting them on a milk carton. When Drew Brees can only find Michael Thomas five times for 45 yards, the hot tip hotline, because Thomas couldn’t be found. Nor could anyone Rhodes covered:

Adam Thielen, WR: Is there anything he drops? one of the reasons Bradford went 27-32 is because of Thielen, who made some twisting, acrobatic catches that became one explosive play after another. Thielen gets better and better every week, and I don’t know that there’s a ceiling to his talent. 9 catches, 157 yards, and me just laughing at how much he was clowning the Saints secondary all night long.

Stefon Diggs, WR: Diggs and Thielen complement each other perfectly. Diggs had 7 catches for 93 yards, but two touchdowns, and one remarkable catch near the goal line after a big hit. When Bradford, Thielen, and Diggs are all on the same page, this offense is legitimately deadly.

Randy Moss, Superfreak: Moss was inducted into the Vikings Ring Of Honor, and Diggs and Thielen did their best to honor him on his night. Thielen went for over a buck fifty, Diggs had two touchdowns, and Moss went into Vikings eternity. Hell of a night for Vikings wide receivers all the way around.

Dalvin Cook, RB: The Vikings found their replacement to Adrian Peterson, as Cook set a Vikings record for most yards rushing by a rookie running back in his debut, with 127 yards on 22 carries. If he hadn’t set the record, I would have made him ‘just’ a solid investment, because he had some butterfingers trying to catch the football. But in the second half, Cook took over, and his legs ground the Saints into dust. The Vikings fed him the ball, he kept getting first downs and eating the clock, and the Saints couldn’t stop him even though they knew what was coming. It was glorious.

The Offensive Line: I am giving this offensive line heaps of praise, as Sam Bradford was only sacked once all night. They gave him gobs of time all night, and a mostly clean pocket to set up in and throw the ball. They struggled opening holes for the running game in the first half, but in the second half they started moving bodies and mauling people. It was a much needed performance for a group of guys that had a ton of questions coming into camp that only saw those questions intensified when Alex Boone got released on cutdown day.

Eric Kendricks, LB: When the Vikings defense made a big play or a big stop, the first guy on scene seemed to be Kendricks all night. He spearheaded a defense that held Drew Brees in check all night. Well, at least until they called off the digs and gave up field position for time in the 4th quarter when the game had been decided.

Solid Investments

Everson Griffen, DE: Griffen had himself a good night, registering the Vikings first sack of the season, and bringing constant pressure off the edge all evening, making an uncomfortable environment for Brees to throw..

Anthony Barr, LB: Like Griffen, Barr had a good night too. After an off-season of angst amongst Vikings fans wondering what was wrong with Barr in 2016, that angst subsided as Barr seemed to take on his 2015 form.

Junk Bonds

Latavius Murray, RB: When your first carry is a fumble, and your second is your last of the evening, you’re a junk bond when you’re one of the big off season free agent signings.

Jerick McKinnon, KR: Look, Jerick, it’s not the preseason anymore, and you’re not Percy Harvin or Cordarrelle Patterson. Down the ball in the end zone when it’s kicked 9 yards deep, okay?

Trae Waynes, CB: This is kind of based off of one play, and that was a 52 yard catch that Tommylee Lewis caught over Waynes. Is it unfair to put him here for, essentially, one play? No, but let’s put it into context—at the time, Xavier Rhodes was out of the game due to cramps, and Waynes was the defacto number one CB. The Saints saw that immediately, and went right at him. If he’s going to be a front line starter, he can’t give up plays like this.


Buy: The preseason doesn’t matter. We do it every year, and every year it doesn’t matter. In the preseason the Vikings offense couldn’t get out of their own way and the defense couldn’t stop a good high school team. And tonight the Vikes looked like world beaters. Why? Because the preseason means nothing, unless you lose a top line starter to an injury.

Sell: The Vikings are going to the Super Bowl. As good as tonight’s game was, it was just one game. They’re not going to face the Saints defense every week, and a lot can happen. But tonight? Tonight was encouraging, for sure.

Buy: Adrian Peterson is one of the greatest Vikings of all time. I loved Adrian Peterson, and he was one of my all time favorite players until 2014. There was a lot I had to digest about that season, and a lot in the aftermath of hat (trade demand, etc). Still, he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer (but lol who knows because HOF voters) and gave us all some of our most memorable moments in franchise history.

Sell: Adrian Peterson is one of the greatest Saints of all time. Yeah, when a guy expected to be a bellweather back, and is on a team where he’s not going to be’s not going to end well.

Buy: The two minute offense. Okay, confession time. If you had told me there would be an offense in this game that went 95 yards in under two minutes to score a touchdown right before halftime...I wouldn’t have picked the Vikings offense to be the unit to do that. That was a legit drive aided by Sean Payton being an idiot and calling two timeouts, thinking he’d get a stop and give his offense one more drive before halftime. Oops.

Sell: The Vikings don’t have a killer instinct. At the end of the game, I was worried about the Vikings letting the Saints back into the game. But a funny thing happened on the way to ‘because of course Vikings’ moment tonight—it didn’t happen. In the 4th quarter, the Saints got within 10, and then the Vikings promptly went down and scored a TD. Saints answer with a TD, Vikings get the ball back and go on a 7 play drive to kick a field goal. The Saints score another TD, but the Vikings take the ball back with just under 2 minutes left, and the Vikings close the game out by running Dalvin Cook down their throats.

Buy: Kai Forbath kicking field goals. He was 3/3 and I had no problems when he swept the leg for three.


Moment Of The Week:

Got home from our vacation, and had about an hour and a half before the game started. So I started getting ready, and it finally hit me that Dad wasn’t going to be around. My daughter drove us home from the airport, and to surprise me, she had our newest grandson with her, he all of two weeks old. And she put him in a Vikings outfit. I had my dad’s Favre jersey on, and it kinda hit me that life, indeed, moves along.

To the next generation of Vikings fans, may you see multiple Super Bowl parades. Skol!