The OddsShark computer projects a 23.4-20.2 victory for the Vikings. That would push the spread and go under on the total.
If you’re looking for storylines, this one’s easy. Adrian Peterson, one of the greatest players in Minnesota Vikings and NFL history, is wearing the colors of the opposing team.
Peterson signed with the Saints in the offseason, and it’s also an anticipated debut from his replacement. The Vikings selected Dalvin Cook with the 41st overall pick in the draft, and the Florida State product was featured heavily in the preseason.
After the way last season ended, it’s easy to forget how the Vikings started 2016. They were the class of the league through five games, but injuries, mainly to their offensive line, sent them crashing down the standings late in the season. They were replaced in the playoffs but the surging Packers, who rode that momentum to the NFC Championship.
It’s another season for Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton, who are in the 12th year of their partnership. The Saints, despite being the second-highest scoring team in football last season, finished 7-9 and missed out on the postseason.
The biggest matchup tonight will be the Saints secondary against Vikings QB Sam Bradford. Bradford was a late acquisition for the Vikings last season, so this was his first full preseason preparing to be the Vikings starter. He’s got a very capable group of skill players, and when healthy, one of the league’s best lines. IF Bradford has time to work and a clean pocket, he could decimate a Saints secondary that needs to be adequate if New Orleans wants to compete this year.
Prediction: Vikings win 24-19. Vikings cover and the total goes under.