Thursday, September 9, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Saints 14, Vikings 9
By Pat Yasinskas
NEW ORLEANS -- Let's hit some highlights:
What it means: It was only one game and it was by no means pretty. But the Saints got a victory against a quality team. Yes, they have plenty to work on, but they gutted this one out. If there really was a Super Bowl hangover, then this was a game they easily could have lost.
What’s next: It’s not an easy road for the Saints. They have a road trip to San Francisco for a Monday night game and a Week 3 home game with Atlanta. We’re going to know a lot about the Saints’ chances of repeating within the first three weeks.
Tomorrow's Talker: The Saints only ran the ball three times in the first half. They started running a lot in the second half, maybe even too much. The Saints need to remember last year when they had a better formula for balance. They’re a passing team, no doubt, but they must have a healthy dose of the running game to keep defenses honest.
Trending: Minnesota tight end Visanthe Shiancoe was open all night. That’s not a good sign for the Saints, who have Tony Gonzalez and Kellen Winslow in their division. The loss of outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas for the season is a bigger deal than a lot of people realized. The Saints don’t have any outside linebackers who are really strong in pass coverage.
What I liked: Sean Payton’s ability to be flexible. Yeah, it took him some time to decide if this was a night for the offense to run or pass. But he played it smart in the fourth quarter and protected a lead without taking any dramatic chances.
What I didn't like: The run defense. Yes, Adrian Peterson is a great back, but so are DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Michael Turner. The Saints will face Carolina and Atlanta twice each this season. You can bet John Fox and Mike Smith were taking notes on the New Orleans run defense.