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NFC Divisional Playoff Notes: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings

14 January 2018

We had read - or in some cases, written - that story countless times before.

They'll face off again on Sunday with an NFC Championship berth on the line. Head coach Mike Zimmer has taken the Vikings to the playoffs in two of his four seasons in Minnesota. Defensively, the Vikings are yielding 15.8 points and 275.9 total yards (192.4 in passing and 83.6 in rushing).

The Eagles haven't played either the Vikings or the Saints this season. Prediction: Vikings 23, Saints 20. Not that the Saints can't beat the Falcons, but adding the rivalry aspect en route to the Super Bowl is a little more lagniappe than this fan needs.

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Against the suspect Saints run defence, Murray and McKinnon could be just as damaging as Ingram and Kamara. The Vikings are really good, first of all, with a tremendous defense that might carry them to the big game - which just happens to be in Minneapolis in early February. Blair Walsh always will take the blame for the Vikings' first-round playoff loss because of his missed field goal, but it was Peterson's fourth-quarter fumble that led to the drive that resulted in Seattle kicking the go-ahead field goal.

That's just fine for the fans, who are hoping New Orleans can gut-out a win in what shapes up to be a tough contest against the vaunted Minnesota defense. "I think you probably use (the last spot) for somebody on special teams or one of the lineman".

"We've been very outspoken, since we found out we're having the Super Bowl here ... we wanted to be the first team to play in our own Super Bowl", said Rudolph. "But you don't know what we're going to do, because we have playmakers all over, and we can spread it around".

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"I would very surprised if (Zimmer) dresses three quarterbacks for this game, " said Joe Theismann, a longtime National Football League analyst who won a Super Bowl as Washington's starting quarterback in the 1982 season.

Things to look for: Both of these teams are playing at a high level and can threaten you offense numerous ways. Thomas, in just his second year in the league out of Ohio State, finished sixth in the league in receiving with 1245 yards.

Numbers: SAINTS: Defeated Panthers, 31-26, in NFC Wild Card Playoffs last week...11-5 record, won NFC South in '17 (7-9 in 2014, 2015 and '16)... When you have the best running back arguably of all-time, and definitely in our game right now, you have to give him the ball.

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Sam in shadows: Quarterback Sam Bradford returned to practice this week as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery, but the Vikings don't figure to dress the Week 1 starter for Sunday's game.

NFC Divisional Playoff Notes: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings