Seven months ago, one NFL “expert” predicted the Vikings would only win five games. With a 10-win campaign in the books, Minnesota has already proven him wrong. Having successfully earned a postseason berth, the team will now take on the New Orleans Saints in their infamous Superdome. Nearly every analyst has the Saints coming out on top, but the Vikings have what it takes to prove many people, experts included, wrong once more.
For less-familiar fans, this is the first time since 2009 that the Vikings will go to the Big Easy in the postseason. After what happened a decade ago, no one is resting easy as the team heads to New Orleans. 2009 was the year when Saints coaches Sean Payton and Greg Williams orchestrated the ruthless “Bountygate” scandal, a dirty-hit program that saw the downfall of Brett Favre’s aging body, and Minnesota’s high hopes for the Super Bowl. You hate to dwell on the past, but some things aren’t easily forgotten.
The Vikings aren’t the only ones with painful memories in this relationship. It’s been two years since the Saints were embarrassed by the legendary Minneapolis Miracle, and they are chomping at the bit to harass the Vikings in their own home. Quarterback Drew Brees is looking to make his second run at the Lombardi, and the Vikings are one of only four teams standing in his way.
— NFL (@NFL) January 14, 2019
With this kind of history, it’s hard to find anyone, including a Minnesota fan, who has confidence in the Vikings. After all, the team will be without two key corners, Mike Hughes and Mackensie Alexander. Nonetheless, the postseason is no time for excuses, or fairweather fans. To even have a chance at winning, the players and fans must have faith in coach Zimmer, and themselves.
On Friday, Vikings owners Mark and Zigi Wilf gave both Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman a vote of confidence, saying they wanted the duo leading Minnesota in 2020 and beyond. This was the perfect time for a comment like this, and fans should side with the Wilf family. Whether they’re down two corners or at full strength, I have faith in this team.
#Vikings ownership voices support for GM Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) January 3, 2020
The Vikings pulled off the Minneapolis Miracle in 2017, and there’s no reason they can’t start the new year with a Beatdown in the Big Easy. Minnesota is essentially coming off of a bye week, and all units of the team have shown elite talent at some point throughout the season. It’s a tall order, but if the offense, defense, and special teams can each put on marquee performances, the Saints won’t stand a chance. Even if one of the units plays out of their mind, and the others do anything short of crumble, this is going to be a heck of a game.
An “expert” had the Vikings going 5-11, while I had the team going 11-5. It didn’t matter what someone else said then, and it doesn’t matter what a dozen experts are saying now. My final prediction: two full-throttle offenses go head to head, and two talented defenses have uneventful days. Final score: Vikings 27, Saints 24.