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Vikings 2018 Season, Week 8: Saints News and Notes

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I read up on our opponents so you don’t have to!

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Divisional Round - New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

So, here we are, kids. It’s been exactly 287 days since Case Keenum told the other Vikings in the huddle they’d be running the play “Buffalo Right, Seven Heaven.” Keenum took the snap, waited for his receivers to get open, threw the ball high and towards the sideline, into the waiting arms of Stefon Diggs, who found himself all alone and upright after Saints safety Marcus Williams whiffed on the tackle, and sprinted towards Minnesota Sports Legend status. Second in Minnesota sports lore only to Kirby Puckett’s 1991 World Series Game Six home run off of Charlie Leibrandt, the play is one that Vikings fans will forever remember.

And, you know what? It’s still fun to watch! CRANK THAT VOLUME!

But alas, that was last year. This is 2018, though, and the Vikings face a Saints team that is playing as well as any in the league at the moment. Sean Payton is back for his twelfth season coaching the team, and his team returns to U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time since that fateful January evening.

Hopefully, Vikings fans will make the stadium feel at least… three times bigger. Payton’s team is now standing all alone in first place in the NFC South with a 5-1 record. Their offense hasn’t been a problem - as expected. It’s their defense that has people questioning how good they can be.

The Saints on Offense

With their week seven win versus the Baltimore Ravens, Quarterback Drew Brees became just the third quarterback ever to beat all 32 NFL teams, joining Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. Brees, who began his career playing for the San Diego Chargers, finally got that win versus the Ravens after four previous tries over his eighteen year career.

The Saints best offensive weapon not named Drew Brees is Running Back Alvin Kamara. I’m not sure how carrying the weight rack on his back while pulling a Jeep down the street translates to football, but it seems to be working.

Former Vikings fan-favorite Teddy Bridgewater landed in New Orleans at the end of the preseason as a backup and insurance policy to Drew Brees. Bridgewater is on a one-year contract, and could be one of the most sought-after players in free-agency next winter. And Bridgewater earned high praise from former teammate Adam Thielen.

One somewhat intriguing player on the Saints roster is “Thor-terback”, Taysom Hill. The second-year player from BYU has lined up at quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end, kickoff returner and special-teamer this season for the Saints. Folks who cover the team are making a pretty big deal out of it, but Hill has managed to total just 121 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown in two years in the league. The Kordell Stewart/Michael Vick comparisons should probably stop.

The Saints on Defense

New Orleans this week acquired Cornerback Eli Apple (no relation) from the New York Giants for a 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round pick. After some speculation that Patrick Peterson was a potential target for the team, Saints fans have had a very mixed reaction to the deal. Apple wasn’t a popular player with Giants fans, but may be an upgrade over Ken Crawley.

The addition of Apple along with fellow corner Marshon Lattimore, and safeties Vonn Bell and Kurt Coleman (no realtion), means that the Saints could start an entire defensive backfield made up of former Ohio State Buckeyes - which prompted this Tweet, from ESPN’s Dianna Russini (Sorry, Ted):

The Saints are really, really bad at stopping the pass. They’ve faced Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, and Joe Flacco - not exactly a Quarterback Murderer’s Row. And yet, they’ve given up the second highest quarterback rating in football this year.

Ridiculous Quote(s) of the Week:

This week’s RQOTW selections all have to do with the aforementioned Taysom Hill.

“There’s really nothing you could tell me that he’s done on the field that would surprise me. He leaps tall buildings in a single bound and he stops locomotives. And he does basically anything physically that I could ever imagine,” said Bronco Mendenhall, BYU Head Coach, regarding former player and current New Orleans Saint Taysom Hill.

Again... one hundred twenty-one yards. From scrimmage. Total. Ever.