New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Monday, September 11, 2017, 7:10 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
U.S. Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Opening Line: Minnesota -3 1/2
Current Line: Minnesota -3 (-115)
Opening Total: 47 1/2
Current Total: 48
Opening Money Line: Vikings -170 / Saints +150
Current Money Line: Vikings -165 / Saints +145
For the first time in his Hall-of-Fame career, running back Adrian Peterson will play for a team other than Minnesota Vikings. He signed as free agent with the New Orleans Saints. Ironically, his first game with his new team will be against his old team as the Vikings host the Saints Monday night.
Minnesota leads the series 20-11 against New Orleans. However, the Saints have won four straight games against the Vikings including 20-9 in New Orleans in 2014. That was the last meeting between the teams.
New Orleans is coached by Sean Payton. The Saints went 7-9 last season and finished third in the NFC South. The Saints were 10-5-1 ATS and the total was 9-7 last year. New Orleans went 2-2 in the pre-season, including a 14-13 loss at home in week four to the Baltimore Ravens.
Minnesota is coached by Mike Zimmer. The Vikings were 8-8 last season and finished third in the NFC North. Minnesota was 9-7 ATS and the total was 7-9 last year. The Vikings went 2-2 in the pre-season and lost at home to the Miami Dolphins 30-9 in week four.
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New Orleans outscored teams 29-28. The Saints averaged 426 yards per game on offense including 317 passing and 109 rushing yards. New Orleans allowed 375 yards per game on defense including 274 passing and 102 rushing yards. The Saints were 120/235 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 88/204. New Orleans forced 30 sacks and allowed 27 last season. The Saints were -3 in turnovers. New Orleans allowed five defensive touchdowns last season.
Quarterback Drew Brees will be a Hall of Famer when his career ends. Last year, he threw for 5,208 yards with 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, along with 20 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. He is 37 though and he only has a few years left in a brilliant career. Chase Daniel is the back-up, but is questionable with an ankle injury. Rookie Taysom hill will serve as the back-up if Daniel can’t go.
Running back Mark Ingram had 205 carries with 1,043 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 46 catches for 319 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tim Hightower had 133 carries for 548 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 22 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown. Hightower was not resigned and has yet to sign with a team. Peterson only played in two games last year due to an injury.
Michael Thomas had 92 catches for 1,137 yards and 9 touchdowns. Brandin Cooks had 78 catches for 1,173 yards and 8 touchdowns. He was traded to the Patriots. Receiver Willie Snead is suspended for the first three games of the season. He had 72 catches for 895 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Saints signed Ted Ginn from the Panthers. Tight end Coby Fleener had 50 catches for 631 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. Tommylee Lewis, Austin Carr, Josh Hill and Brandon Coleman will also get plenty of targets.
Six defensive players are listed on the injury report. That could be an issue for a team that struggled on defense last year.
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Minnesota outscored teams 20-19. The Vikings averaged 315 yards per game on offense including 240 passing and 75 rushing yards. Minnesota allowed 315 yards per game on defense including 208 passing and 107 rushing yards. Minnesota was 89/231 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 83/220. Minnesota forced 41 sacks and allowed 38 last season. The Vikings were +11 in turnovers. Minnesota had three special teams and four defensive touchdowns this season.
After quarterback Teddy Bridgewater tore his ACL and MCL during the preseason, Minnesota traded for quarterback Sam Bradford from the Eagles. Bradford completed 71.6% of his passes for 3,877 yards with 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, plus 20 carries for 53 yards. Case Keenum is the back-up.
The running game was terrible last year without Peterson for a large portion of the year. The Vikings drafted running back Dalvin Cook and will be the feature back. They also signed Latavious Murray from the Raiders Jerick McKinnon will also get some carries. C.J. Ham is the fullback.
Receiver Adam Thielen had 69 catches for 967 yards and 5 touchdowns. Stefon Diggs had 84 catches for 903 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Kyle Rudolph had 83 catches for 840 yards and 7 touchdowns. Four defensive players are listed on the injury report.
New Orleans is 9-1 ATS in road games, 8-2 against NFC teams, 10-3 overall, 5-2 on fieldturf, 2-5 in September, 1-4 in Monday games, and 1-5 in week one. The over is 6-in this series recently, including 4-0-1 in Minnesota.
Minnesota is 5-0 ATS in September, 20-6 on fieldturf, 22-7 at home, 38-17 overall, and 1-8 in Monday games. The favorite is 5-2 ATS in this series recently.
If you could combine the New Orleans offense with the Minnesota defense, you would have a Super Bowl contender. As it is the Saints are terrible on defense and the Vikings are average at best on offense. Peterson will get the attention as he comes back to Minnesota, but Ingram is still the starting running back. I think the Vikings slow down the Saints enough to win a close game at home.