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Ups and downs from Saints vs. Vikings

Which players are stepping up and who is on a downward slope?

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints’ record fell to 5-5 after their loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Minnesota started quarterback Joshua Dobbs who joined the team less than two weeks ago at the NFL’s trade deadline.

Up: Chris Olave

Wide receiver Chris Olave has been in a “slump” as he described it, but when quarterback Derek Carr left the game early due to injury, Olave was backup quarterback Jameis Winston’s go-to receiver. Olave finished the day with 6 receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown.

It’s no secret that Carr and Olave have struggled to get on the same page, but it was made evident when Winston entered the game and instantly clicked with Olave. Winston trusted the 2nd-year receiver to make the big plays and Olave lived up to the moment.

Up: A.T. Perry

Rookie wide receiver A.T. Perry hasn't seen much of the field this season due to receiver depth, but after an injury to Michael Thomas, the 6’5 rookie wideout finally got his chance. Despite finishing the game with only 2 receptions, Perry flashed potential. Going into the draft, the Wake Forest product was scouted as a speedy and tall receiver with long arms but concerns about not utilizing his big frame for possession catches. Well, Perry used all of his 6’5 frame to reel in a 15-yard “prayer” pass from Winston that helped bring the Saints back into the game.

Down: Dennis Allen

Head Coach Dennis Allen is known as a defensive coach, but as of recently, the defense has not performed well. Over the last four games, opposing teams are averaging 18.8 points in the first half. This number deflates to 6.8 in the second half. Allen is making the proper adjustments after halftime, but it's nearly too late. New Orleans is constantly playing from behind due to their struggling offense not being able to keep up with the points the defense is allowing to start a game.

New Orleans is top 10 in the league in terms of penalties committed. This has been an issue all season and continues to plague both sides of the ball. The offense is already a struggling unit, and they often commit drive-killing penalties making it more difficult on themselves. The defense has committed critical penalties keeping them on the field or setting opposing offenses up in great position. The Saints fixed this problem last week against the Chicago Bears, only committing one penalty for five yards, but the issue returned in their matchup against Minnesota where they committed 9 penalties for 74 yards. The consistent lack of discipline falls back on the head coach and there has not been improvement in that field.

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