The Minnesota Vikings (1-3) and the New Orleans Saints (2-2) both need a win to keep up with playoff hopes. Both teams were thought to be playoff bound at the start of the season, but right now both teams need a win, and they need one badly. This could be a do or die for both teams' playoff hopes.
Gus Frerotte will get the start again, as the Vikings keep away from Tarvaris Jackson. He's gone 1-1 as the starter and has been only okay. With two picks and one touchdown, he hasn't been doing great. Last week he went 25-43 with a pick and 266 yards. He does have five sacks, but with the New Orleans line weakened he could excel.
Drew Brees is having one of those seasons. He already has eight touchdowns and in the last two games he has had a passer rating of over 100. He only has been sacked three times, but that Vikings' defensive line is a tough cookie. Look for Drew to get a lot of hurries and sacks against him.
These two teams have quite the backs behind the line.
Adrian Peterson will have a good day. His speed is too much for a mediocre defensive line for the Saints. He can fly through the line, and the real question is whether the linebackers can get him down. If he doesn't get 100 yards, it will be because he gets injured; I see him getting 200 yards and two TDs.
Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister head the Saints' rushing attack. Deuce is coming off an injury; will he be at full power? Reggie Bush is finally an NFL primetime player, getting around 60 yards per game rushing and getting lots of yards from short passes and crosses. They go against the tough Vikings D though, and I don't see how either will get more than 50 yards. Deuce will get more yards because of his larger size, but overall they won't be great.
The Vikings might have trouble in this category.
With injuries to Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice, they become questionable. This would bring in Bobby Wade if one of them missed the start, but if both are out, it would also give more time to Robert Ferguson. He has had only one catch this season, and wouldn't be a big impact against secondary veteran Mike McKenzie.
With no Colston, no Shockey, and now no Patten, this offensive front could be weak. This leaves Reggie Bush and Henderson to lead the passing game. The Vikings don't have a great secondary though, and are 17th in the league in passing yards allowed. That could help these guys a lot.
The Saints are missing one of their stars in this game: Sedrick Ellis. Without him on the defensive line I see them a little weaker already. They have a good cornerback corps against weak receivers though, and that also helps them. They give up a lot of running yards, and with the D line a little worse, Peterson will crush them. The Saints better hope Vilma can step up and stop Peterson, because he is the last hope.
The Vikings' defensive line shows no mercy and is easily the best in the NFC, second in the NFL to only the Titans. They don't have a great secondary, though, and Brees will have a 200-yard game. They average around 20 points per game for the other team, and that's around what I see the Saints getting.
So who is going to win? The Saints do have injuries that are in bad places. What you need to remember is that both the losses they have were very close (To Denver, 34-32; to Washington, 29-24). Also, the Saints are at home with a crazy crowd. They get an advantage.
Adrian Peterson: 250 yards, two TDs
Drew Brees: 300 yards, three TDs
Saints: 30, Vikings: 24