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New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: First Quarter Open Thread

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


Date: 14 January 2018
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Time: 3:30 PM Central Stadium: U.S. Bank Stadium
TV: FOX Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 82
Sirius Ch 82
TV Announcers: Joe Buck
Troy Aikman
Know Thy Foe: Canal Street Chronicles
Weather: Indoors
Line: Minnesota -4, Over/Under 46.5 (Thanks to the SB Nation odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Vikings 27, Saints 20
Final Score: Vikings 29, Saints AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

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-Basically, thou shalt not be a jackwagon in the game thread.

Well, folks, after what seems like an eternity, we have finally made it. It is the Divisional Round of the 2017 NFC Playoffs, and your Minnesota Vikings will be playing host to the New Orleans Saints to see who will advance to next week's NFC Championship Game. That game will, regardless of who wins today, take place in Philadelphia, as the Eagles locked up their spot in that game by defeating Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.

So, what do the purple have to do in order to ensure that it's them making the trip to the East next weekend?

1) Keep playing mistake-free: We've been over this in previous weeks, but when teams have to string together long drives against this defense in this stadium in order to score touchdowns, they struggle mightily. The Saints are a very good offensive team, but the Vikings still boast the league's best defense, they're completely healthy at this point, and they should have an insane home crowd behind them. If they don't give the Saints a lot of short fields, they should be able to keep New Orleans off the scoreboard.

2) Get the run going early: The Saints have been getting hammered in the run game over the course of the past few weeks. The Vikings have had success running the ball with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon all season long, and if they can get that established early, it's going to open up a lot of things for Case Keenum and company. The Vikings haven't shown much on offense the last few weeks, and they really haven't had to, but I would expect things to open up this afternoon.

3) Get after Drew Brees: Last week, Brees was able to find Michael Thomas roaming free all over the Carolina secondary. Now that Thomas will be lining up against Xavier Rhodes, that's not going to happen in this one. That means that if the Vikings can get after Brees, he's going to have to try to find other targets, and the matchup between the Saints' targets and the Vikings' defense is one that favors Minnesota. Brees is a Hall of Famer, but the Vikings need to do what they can to get to him in this one.

We're less than an hour away from kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium, folks. There will be a new thread at the start of every quarter, so make sure you're keeping your eyes open for that. Other than that, enjoy the game, folks!