Sports

Game Day Guide: Vikings vs. Saints

Game Day Guide: Vikings vs. Saints

Zimmer told reporters that Bradford is working his way with the other quarterbacks but "has a ways to go" after completing his fifth practice since returning last week while competing for practice time with Teddy Bridgewater.

On the other side, Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum is making his playoff debut after the most improbable National Football League breakout season since Kurt Warner played his way out of a grocery store job. They likely will not have to, as the defense has only allowed 24 points or more three times this season. "But I love the way that guy plays, and he's played extremely well for his team".

Like any elite offense, the Vikings have adapted based on the strengths of the defensive unit they face.

In the time that Sean Payton has coached the Saints (excluding 2012, when he didn't), the Saints are 46-43 on the road in the regular season. The good news is that Kyle Rudolph and Pat Elflein is not on the list, meaning they are good to go. It will be the first time the two teams have met in the postseason since their NFC Championship game in the 2009 season.

Coleman's absence should mean a bigger role for fellow receiver Willie Snead, who has been less productive this season, with eight catches for 92 yards and no touchdowns in 11 games played. Or is it more pathetic to not even be able to get there?

"I always root for guys like that, kind of the undersized guy coming out that nobody wants to give any credit and just always plays with a chip on his shoulder", Brees said this week. Minnesota's defense is elite in all three levels.

If the Vikings defensive front holds, they could force Brees to get away from the balanced approach and revert back to the pass-heavy offensive play-calling the Saints are known for. Plucked off the Jaguars' practice squad late last season, he's been one of the bigger surprises on the team this year.

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For both teams, really. Most notably, the Saints have relied less on the talents of quarterback Drew Brees and more on their running back duo, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.

The 22-year-old has only had two such games in his short professional career, but he's picked up over 100 total yards in seven contests since his team's October 22 win over the Green Bay Packers.

"At 6'6", Rudolph can be an asset in the red zone as Keenum looks to find a reliable target that can create separation from a defender. In that game, Ingram and Kamara combined for 35 yards rushing and 74 yards receiving, while competing with the since-jettisoned Adrian Peterson for touches.

Keenum started 10 games over the next two years before being traded to the Rams in 2015.

A writer for the Boston Globe tweeted Friday the "Vikings plan to dress" Bradford, who hasn't been active since Week 5 against the Chicago Bears.

The victor moves a step closer to Super Bowl LII, which will be played in three weeks in the same stadium as Sunday's game.


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