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Saints Likely to Face Vikings in 2010 NFL Season Opener

It looks like the short list of potential season-opening opponents for the Saints has been narrowed to just two strong possibilities: The Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that Art Rooney II, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, believes the NFL will give the Steelers a home game in the first week of the regular season because the team will need to play their following two games away due to scheduling conflicts with the Pirates.

Since the Super Bowl champions always host the first game of the following season, that would take the Steelers out of the running as a possible candidate. But unless Rooney has inside information that we don't, he's working under the assumption that the league would never have the Steelers open the season with three straight road games. Stranger things have happened.

If true though, that would leave seven other possible teams already slated to be 2010 home opponents for the Saints in the running but the Panthers, Buccaneers, Seahawks, Rams and Browns don't really seem likely candidates.

Only the Vikings and Falcons remain as serious contenders for a season-opening, banner-raising beat down. Between the two of them, however, only one team really makes sense given the drama, controversy, wild finish and ratings of their NFC Championship showdown: The Minnesota Vikings.

If Rooney is right and the Steelers really are out of the running then the Vikings are a sure thing as the Saints first opponent of the 2010 season. No question about it. And with all the newfound animosity and lingering bad blood between the two fan bases, oh how I look forward to raising that banner right in front of their faces. Makes me hope that Brett Favre returns to Minnesota for one more season.

So with the decision coming next week, what are your thoughts on the 2010 NFL season opener? Who do you think the Saints will play? Who do you want them to play?