Whether you want to believe it or not, the Week 1 rematch between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings played on Monday Night Football is nearly irrelevant to Sunday’s Divisional Round game.
Some 12 players in that game presumably won’t be around for this matchup, which includes: De’Vante Harris, Zach Strief, Andrus Peat, Coby Fleener, Adrian Peterson, A.J. Klein, Kenny Vaccaro, Alex Okafor, Alex Anzalone, Hau’oli Kikaha, Adam Bighill (practice squad), and Mitchell Loewen.
At the time, Ken Crawley was a healthy inactive, Ryan Ramczyk was filling in at left tackle for an injured Terron Armstead, and Trey Hendrickson was also absent. It was a game that saw Harris play 44 snaps, Sterling Moore and Al-Quadin Muhammad (who was active) not see a single snap, and of course...
How things have changed since then. It’s not uncommon to have so much roster turnover, especially with the amount of injuries the Saints have piled up during the season. Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore were both infants to the team’s season, and went on to flourish.
In addition to that, there will be more players who weren’t around for the first game like George Johnson, Gerald Hodges, Jonathan Freeny, Tony McDaniel, Taysom Hill, Michael Mauti, Arthur Maulet, and Justin Hardee. Players like Craig Robertson, Vonn Bell, and Manti Te’o weren’t used as much, and Robertson in particular was more of a special teams guy.
The core nucleus of the Saints will be familiar to many, but the point is this is almost a completely different team than the Vikings and the world saw in first week of the regular season.
The Saints are just 3-13 in their franchise history against the Vikings up in Minnesota, with lone wins coming in 2011, 1993, and 1985. There’s some good news for Saints fans, however, as Drew Brees holds a 4-2 all-time record against Minnesota, which includes the 2009 NFC Championship. Brees is set to turn 39 years old the day after the game. Perhaps there’s an early birthday present in his future.