It’s been nine months since the Saints were last in U.S. Bank Stadium to face the Vikings. And the final play of New Orleans’ 2017 season included an improbable Case Keenum pass, a miraculous Stefon Diggs catch, and a “WAIT, WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!” Marcus Williams whiffed tackle. The stakes in Sunday night’s rematch aren’t quite as high as the NFC Divisional playoffs but both teams come into the game atop their respective divisions. The Vikings have played better in recent weeks, reeling off three straight after an 0-2-1 stretch that included an inexplicable loss to the Bills. The Saints, meanwhile, are one of the league’s most explosive offenses. The unit, which ranks fourth behind only the Chiefs, Rams and Chargers, is led by 39-year-old MVP candidate and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.
A Saints win would keep them at the top of the NFC playoff race alongside the Rams, which could mean the difference between a first-round bye and having to go on the road in the postseason. And, well, we saw how that worked out last January. Incidentally, the Saints will host the Rams next Sunday. Meanwhile, the Vikings will face the Lions next and then have their bye. When they return, it’s a tough four-game stretch — at Chicago, Green Bay, at New England, at Seattle. Looking ahead is never advisable but it serves as a stark reminder of just how important Sunday night’s game is for both teams.
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