Fleur-de-Links: Vikings vs. Saints - Away We Go Into the Great Unknown

No matter how excited we feel about this year's team (I'm brimming with insane optimism), we can't be sure the season will play out the way we hope. This time last year, we were coming off an 8-8, playoff-missing season, but things were looking way up after the hiring of Gregg Williams. Still, the Super Bowl victory our guys attained was never a sure-thing until the final seconds ticked off the clock in Miami.

Today, we launch a brand new season as the defending champs. We've had very little roster turnover and our coaching staff remains intact. Our future looks bright, but there are still unknowns to grapple with. Will the defense improve or decline? Will Mike Bell be missed? After months of film study, will our opponents have figured out ways to stop us? Will some other unforeseen calamity bring us crashing back down to earth? We'll just have to wait and see.

Despite these questions, the unknown need not be feared. We, the long-suffering members of Who Dat Nation, need not expect doom and gloom starting tonight. The other 31 teams have just as many questions as our Saints do. No one is guaranteed a shot at The Ring. If last season taught us anything, it's that our team is just as capable as any other to win the Lombardi. 

So, let us ask not how our team can blow it this year, but rather just sit back and enjoy the ride no matter where the 2010 road leads us. And, to all of you able to attend tonight's game, I hate you all! Just kidding, but I am crazy jealous of you. I'll be cheering along from home. WHO DAT?! WHO DAT?! WHO DAT SAY DEY GONNA BEAT DEM SAINTS?!

This concludes today's pep rally. Can you feel the excitement? If not, check your pulse! Links, tweets, and video galore after the jump.

TWEETS:

alexbrown96 Getting ready to head over to the Dome!!! Oh yeah it's about game time... I am getting a lil amped up right now. Let's go have some fun

Pierre_Thomas thanks for all the comments, glad ya'll had some good laughs...I had fun out there w @VShiancoe raising money for the kids

T_Porter22 I know everyone's probably wondering what haircut I will have for tomorrow?...Weeeell u will just have to wait and see.

T_Porter22 Thought about it RT @jAYdOTfERG: @T_Porter22 u should get a bald head

dmcallister26 Had a heck of a day today. Met and hung with Michelle Obama. Taylor Swift. James Carvelle(sp). And abt 15 nfl hof's. Life's good

dmcallister26 For all u early birds catch me on the Today Show tomorrow

alexbrown96 Damn right! RT @TheRedzoneorg: Gregg Williams says Saints defense will play it the same way http://tinyurl.com

robyslyfe Game Day...!

jeffduncantp Would be a perfect fit. RT @Adam_Schefter: Former #Saints DE Bobby McCray worked out for the Raiders yesterday.

sharper42 Yall ready for some football, who dat!

LanceMoore16 Its finally here. The day we've been preparing for. Opening night, in the dome, against the Vikings. New Orleans stand up. #whodat

sharper42 My pleasure..we'll bring some more guys on board! WHO DAT!! RT @EvaLongoria: @sharper42 thanks a ton Darren!

LanceMoore16 RT @Rob_Bobby_Lowe: @LanceMoore16 What color Jersey's you wearing tonight?.....were wearing the white ones

Pierre_Thomas through blood, sweat & tears, long grueling hours in the heat...this is what the NFL is all about, GAME DAY BABY!! Lets get it! #saints

 

THE BIG GAME TONIGHT:

NFL.com news: Ignored but not forgotten, Saints' powerful offense holds key
"You don't know how the game is going to start off, but we have to keep playing hard and start fast to put them in a hole," running back Pierre Thomas said. "Everybody knows the Vikings are a good team, a tough team to play against. They have that tough defense, but we like the challenge. No matter who we play against, we want a challenge. We have to start off fast and really hit them in the mouth before they hit us."

Henderson: Opening game to join ranks of classic Saints games | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The Vikings’ motive is for revenge and the Saints’ motive is the emotion that they will have in the Superdome.

Football fever sweeps New Orleans as Saints, Vikings meet - BostonHerald.com
NEW ORLEANS — Tailgating began near sunrise around the Louisiana Superdome though the New Orleans Saints’ season-opening NFL game with the Minnesota Vikings wasn’t scheduled to start for more than 12 hours.

Cam Martin's Pregame Flyover gives recon on the Vikings and Saints - Page 2 - ESPN
Humor, columns, commentary, lists and analysis from Page 2 and ESPN.

New Orleans still basking in afterglow of Saints' Super Bowl win
There still is a decided afterglow in New Orleans from the Saints' stirring run to their first Super Bowl title last season.

Saints a dynasty waiting to happen? - NFC South Blog - ESPN
NEW ORLEANS -- I’m not sure what really qualifies an NFL team as a dynasty anymore. Back-to-back Super Bowl wins? Perhaps. 

Who Dat Nation Unites Behind World Champs - WWL - AM870 | FM105.3 | News | Talk | Sports

History is on side of the Saints - NFC South Blog - ESPN
NEW ORLEANS -- I know fans of the Saints tend to get a little superstitious, so I thought I’d start your day off with a positive stat.

Brees against the blitz - NFC South Blog - ESPN
NEW ORLEANS -- Drew Brees threw for more than 5,000 yards in 2008, mostly because the Saints couldn’t do much on offense besides pass.

History of NFC South champs not pretty - NFC South Blog - ESPN
We’ve talked many times through the years about how things rarely stay the same in the NFC South. 

Brees, Favre in spotlight of playoff rematch - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
After months of celebrating, the Saints are ready to start defending. The NFL kicks off its 91st season Thursday night with a marquee matchup—Saints vs. Vikings at the Superdome. It will be a rematch of the thrilling NFC championship game, won in overtime by the Saints, 31-28.

NFL Preview: The Saints And Vikings Bring Back Pigskin, Hits, Happiness " MTV Newsroom
This is the MTV Newsroom Blog

Brett Favre's ankle a concern; Percy Harvin not on injury list - ESPN
Stephania Bell Blog on ESPN.com

Drew Brees, Saints out to build an NFL dynasty in New Orleans - USATODAY.com
Drew Brees is heeding a new New Orleans calling. A dynasty quest compelled the reigning Super Bowl MVP to run post-practice sprints despite a 106-degree heat index after the New Orleans Saints quarterback threw a few incompletions during the first...

Big Chief: Saints Should Beat Vikings In High Scoring Game - WWL - AM870 | FM105.3 | News | Talk | Sports

Brees expects to be in Vikings’ crosshairs - New Orleans Saints - SunHerald.com
Most of the attention for the New Orleans Saints’ rematch with the Minnesota Vikings has been the rough treatment administered by the Saints’ defense on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the NFC championship game in January.

Dirty or not, Saints' defense will remain aggressive - NFL - CBSSports.com Football
Are the Saints dirty? Vikings coach Brad Childress is still fuming over hits New Orleans laid on Brett Favre in last season's NFC title game. Larry Holder says don't expect the Saints to back away from their aggressive style.

The Hand Off: Worrying about the Saints defense | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
We’re one day away from toe meeting leather for the first time in the 2010 regular season and I figured, why not answer some questions. Y’all responded with some good ones.

Vikings-Saints 'encore' kicks off NFL season - Yahoo! News
The Saints' first Super Bowl title was so big in New Orleans that Mardi Gras, a revered local institution dating back well more than a century, became popularly known as, "Lombardi Gras."

Glenn Guilbeau: Never more fun to be a Saints fan than now | shreveporttimes.com | Shreveport Times
They used to say life begins at 40, and then the people who said that turned 50, and '" well, you know the rest.

3 Saints to Watch 4 Versus Vikings

Talk is over. Time for fuel-charged rematch between Saints and Vikings
NEW ORLEANS – CCXIV (214) days have passed since the New Orleans Saints made franchise history by winning Super Bowl XLIV (44), CCXXVIII (228) days since they butted heads with Minnesota for the NFC Championship.

2theadvocate.com | Sports | Emotions high for Saints-Vikings game — Baton Rouge, LA
It’s been 228 days since the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings met on a football field and engaged in a memorable slugfest with the NFL’s biggest prize — a berth in the Super Bowl and a chance to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy — on the line.

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings matchups: graphic | NOLA.com
Matchup graphic from Thursday's Times-Picayune

Fantasy football: Who to start and sit, New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota | NOLA.com
Starters for tonight. The rest of the week coming later today

New Orleans Saints game day preparations in the French Quarter | NOLA.com
Parade and concert before the big event

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings: Inside the game | NOLA.com
Who to keep an eye on, game plan, key matchup

New Orleans Saints game, parade, concert: WHO DAT?! | NOLA.com
Pregame concert and parade were not designed for ticket-holders, who should head to the Superdome to make kickoff

Television coverage of Saints-Vikings game will reach epic proportions | NOLA.com
NBC describes its approach to this game as Olympics-level attention.

Gerry V: Stakes too high for Saints to lose | NOLA.com
It won't be easy, but team will get it done against Vikings

 

THE VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE:

Kristian: Behind Enemy Lines With The Vikings - WWL - AM870 | FM105.3 | News | Talk | Sports

Yeah, I picked the Vikings | StarTribune.com
News coverage of the Minnesota Vikings, from training camp until the final game and through the postseason, with blogs by Kevin Seifert and Judd Zulgad, discussion forums, columns by Sid Hartman, Patrick Reusse, Jim Souhan and Mark Craig.

Vikings get another shot at Saints
Ben Leber figures it took him a month, maybe a little longer, to get over the frustration and disappointment of losing in the NFC Championship Game last January.

 

LAGNIAPPE:

Onion Sports 2010 NFL Team-By-Team Guide | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
Now that the NFL season is upon us, staying informed is more important than ever. This in-depth Onion Sports guide places all the vital information about this years' teams at your fingertips. Don't watch a single game without this useful tool! Shout out to GlackAnd Bold for first posting this in the Fanshot section. Love the Onion!

Saints Extend Deadline For Super Bowl Ring Raffle - WWL - AM870 | FM105.3 | News | Talk | Sports

New Orleans, Saints know how to deal | shreveporttimes.com | Shreveport Times
Two man-made disasters hit New Orleans nearly back-to-back. Why not a Super Bowl repeat? First, Katrina and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in the city, then the British Petroleum oil disaster just south of town in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

VIDEO:

'I still can't believe they won the Super Bowl' says Times-Picayune's Peter Finney
Saints coach Sean Payton says turnovers were the key to beating Minnesota in the NFC title game
'Can't win the Super Bowl tonight', it's just one game

It's past time to be ready for tonight's Saints vs. Vikings game




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