Saints Game Changing Off-Season Moves: Sharper's Smack Talk Showdown

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We've finally reached the final installment of our Sprint sponsored 'Saints Game Changing Off-Season Moves' round of posts. Up to this point in the series, I've only deemed the obvious addition or subtraction of key players via free agency as worthy of the title 'game changing.' But today, I'm thinking outside the bun. 

I know Saints fans are already pumped for the league-opening Thursday night showdown against the Minnesota Vikings on September 9th, not just because they'll be dropping that beautiful championship banner in the Dome, but because it marks the official start of the teams defense of that first championship title. And Vikings fans are obviously looking for sweet, sweet revenge after coming so close to defeating the Saints only to lose in heart wrenching fashion in overtime. But I'll be damned if that faux twitter trash talk that Darren Sharper stirred up with Visanthe Shiancoe over a month ago didn't stoke the fires between the two fan bases even higher. 

You'll remember it started with Sharper's "X marks the spot" tweet in reference to Brett Favre's surgically repaired ankle. Naturally, the Vikings quickly came to their quarterbacks defense, Shiancoe taking the most exception. It didn't end there, however, as Sharper returned to Twitter, calling out "Stankoe" and challenging him to a friendly wager of game checks. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Shiancoe tweeted before and after pictures of an Osama Bin Laden target altered with marker to represent the Saints safety, which he used for shooting practice on a trip to a firing range. It ended with a patriotic Sharper threatening violence on the field before finally getting his ass chewed out by Payton taking the high road and putting the feud to bed. 

Though the war of words has ended before league intervention was necessary, the slight bit of tension it created at the time between Saints and Vikings fans still lingers. And, if anything, it only grows more tense as the clock counts down to opening kickoff. While the bickering may not actually have changed the Saints team this off-season, for the fans, it's definitely changed at least one game.

As a blogger, it was great fodder though a little silly. But as fans, how do you feel about it now? Do you think it escalated tensions between Saints and Vikings fans?

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