Minnesota Vikings: Five Reasons the Team Shouldn't Worry About Losing To Saints

Ben Anderson-SmithContributor ISeptember 14, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09:  (L-R) Visanthe Shiancoe #81 and Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrate after Shiancoe scored a 20-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

1) They held the Saints to 14 points.
-The New Orleans Saints were the NFL's most explosive offense in 2009, averaging 32.9 points per game. The Saints were held to two touchdown drives, one on the opening drive of the game, and one in the third quarter. For what it's worth, Garrett Hartley missed two field goals, but all the same, the Saints were only held under 14 points or less once in 2009, in a week 17 13-10 loss to the Panthers. The Vikings' secondary is anything but stable, but keeping Drew Brees to 237 yards and one touchdown isn't a bad night for anyone.
2) Brett Favre's Week 1 history.
-Favre's line for the nights was 15/27 for 171 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, with a passer rating of 71.7. He was also sacked once. However, history shows that Favre's play has improved from Week 1 to Week 2. In seven of the past ten seasons, and four of the last five, Favre's Week 2 passer rating has been higher than it was in Week 1, with the lone recent exception being in Favre's 2008 tenure with the Jets. If the pattern continues, Favre will show up and perform better at home against Miami next week, and the Vikings will be back on track.
3) Favre was protected well.
-The images of Favre being hit time after time, as well as the subsequent lack of action by the referees, still burn as a defining memory for many Vikings fans. On Thursday night, Favre was only sacked once, hit a handful of times, and generally had plenty of time in the pocket. Whether this was because of the Saints' defensive scheme, the Vikings' O-line stepping up to the task, or Phil Loadholt's inability to remember that holding is a penalty (okay, nix that last one), if Favre can stay on his feet, the Vikings will be better off.
4) Adrian Peterson looked good.
-Peterson ran the ball 18 times for 87 yards, and caught three passes for 14 yards. Most importantly, he held on to the ball and still managed to look like a bruiser doing it. Had it not been for the fact that the Vikings were playing from behind for much of the second half, as well as Brad Childress' predictable-as-the-tide play calling (First down: Peterson run to the strong side or Favre taking a shot up the field, second down Peterson run up the middle, third down five-yard-check-down-that-always-comes-up-short.), Peterson could have easily eclipsed the century mark. One Favre falls in to place, or Childress starts mixing things up (don't count on it), expect Peterson to return to destroying opposing defenses.
5) They were playing the Saints.
-Plain and simple, the Saints were favored to win this game. The Vikings were down their top receiver in Sidney Rice, and the Saints won the Super Bowl in February. Playing in the relentlessly loud Superdome, the Saints were favored to win the game, and when all was said and done, they came out on top. There's a reason the Saints won the Super Bowl, and there's a reason that they could do it again in the 2010-11 season: An explosive, stop-me-if-you-can offense, an extremely capable defense, and a tremendous coach in Sean Payton All in all, the Saints were and are the better team than the Vikings, and there's no shame in losing to a better team. The Vikings just need to learn from Thursday Night as well as last January's NFC championship game, and be prepared if Round 3 comes up in the playoffs.

-Ben Anderson-Smith, Contributor