The New Orleans Saints made enough plays on offense and defense to beat the Chicago Bears 24-17 to improve to 5-4 on the season.
In that victory last Sunday, the Saints’ defense created five turnovers as third-year cornerback Paulson Adebo came up big with two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
New Orleans will now travel north to Minnesota to face a Vikings team that has dealt with some critical injuries but is designated to have their best player make his return. Despite the injuries, Minnesota has the same record as the Saints, yet is 1-3 at home this season.
There has been a lot of history between these two teams, but since 2017, this series has become a rivalry as the Saints have gotten their licks in with some wins but the Vikings have been the reason for New Orleans getting bounced out of the playoffs on multiple occasions.
This matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings will be played on Sunday, November 12th. Kickoff in U.S. Bank Stadium is set for noon.
WITHOUT THEIR BEST MAN
Vikings pass catcher Justin Jefferson, arguably the best receiver in the NFL right now, has been on injured reserve for the last four weeks because of a hamstring injury. Despite meeting the minimum requirement for being on IR and being eligible to return to practice, Jefferson isn’t expected to play in this game either.
This news comes a few days after starting quarterback Kirk Cousins and recently acquired running back Cam Akers tore their Achilles. Star tight end TJ Hockenson is also banged up but is hopeful to play versus the Saints.
New starting quarterback Joshua Dobbs will have to lean on Hockenson, rookie receiver Jordan Addison, and his legs to make plays and be able to put up enough points against a New Orleans defense that gives up the seventh fewest points per game in the league (19).
Speaking of Dobbs, the Vikings are the fourth team he’s suited up for in the last four seasons, yet he has proven himself to be a competent signal caller in 2023.
Before being traded to Minnesota, Dobbs was traded to the Arizona Cardinals on August 24, 2023, as the organization put star quarterback Kyler Murray on the physically unable-to-perform list. Dobbs would start in every game and only win one game with Arizona as he beat the Dallas Cowboys in a week three matchup but was able to make plays with arm and legs.
Last week against the Atlanta Falcons, Dobbs had to come in for an injured Jaren Hall even though he was still trying to learn the names of his teammates and the playbook. Even with the adversity, Dobbs led the game-winning drive to win 31-28, finishing the day with a couple of touchdown passes, and was the team’s leading rusher with 66 and scored on the ground.
New Orleans has shown the defense struggles to contain mobile quarterbacks. Rookie Tyson Bagent put it on display last week in the Caesars Superdome, rushing for 70 yards on eight carries and buying extra time on multiple occasions to find open receivers. The Saints need to do a better job of containing Dobbs on Sunday to avoid an upset.
PROGRESS ON OFFENSE
Over the last couple of games, we’ve seen the Saints’ offense become more productive in the red zone, which has led to more points being scored.
Since that loss on Thursday night to the Jaguars, New Orleans has scored seven touchdowns in nine trips to the red zone with one of the other two drives resulting in a field goal by rookie kicker Blake Grupe.
This Saints offense will face a Vikings defense that is in the middle of the pack in most categories, including being 14th in total yards allowed and sacks with 328 and 24, 17th in points per game with 21.1 and has taken the ball away 12 times this season. That unit for Minnesota also gives up red zone touchdowns over 56% of the time, ranking 19th in the league.
SERIES RECORD: Vikings lead 24-13
Last 5 meetings:
2022: MIN 28 – NO 25
2020: NO 52 – MIN 33
2020: MIN 26 – NO 20 OT
2018: NO 30 – MIN 20
2018: MIN 29 – NO 24
Derek Carr: 207-316, 2121 yards 10 TD, 4 INT
Alvin Kamara: 95 carries, 346 yards, 2 TD
Chris Olave: 50 catches, 563 yards, 2 TD
Carl Granderson: 5.5 sacks
Demario Davis: 65 tackles (40 solo)
Paulson Adebo: 4 INT
Blake Grupe: 18-of-23 field goals, Long of 55
Kirk Cousins: 216-311, 2331 yards, 18 TD, 5 INT
Alexander Mattison: 112 carries, 434 yards
Justin Jefferson: 36 catches, 571 yards, 3 TD
Danielle Hunter: 10 sacks
Camryn Bynum/Jordan Hicks: 80 tackles (56,47 solo)
Camryn Bynum/Byron Murphy Jr: 2 INT
Greg Joseph: 13-of-field goals, Long of 54
Kendre Miller, HB, Ankle, Out
Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Quadricep, Out
Ty Summers, HB, Hamstring, Probable
Demario Davis, LB, Knee, Probable
Adam Prentice, FB, Questionable
Jaren Hall, QB, Concussion, Out
Dean Lowry, DL, Groin, Doubtful
K.J. Osborn, WR, Concussion, Questionable
Brian Asamoah II, LB, Ankle, Questionable
Christian Darrisaw, T, Groin, Probable
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Ribs, Questionable
Justin Jefferson, WR, Hamstring, Questionable
Johnny Mundt, TE, Knee, Probable
Jalen Nailor, WR, Hamstring, Probable
Chris Reed, G, Foot, Questionable