Skip to main content

Saints vs. Vikings: This isn't 2009 all over again, even if it feels like it

The upcoming playoff rematch is bound to stir up devastating memories.

This feels like 2009. The instinct to brace for disappointment, protect yourself from monumental disappointment, is lurking.

New Orleans' victory on Sunday set up an NFC Divisional Round game that will be billed as a rematch eight years in the making.

Vikings vs. Saints. Purple vs. Gold. The Chokers vs. the Champions.

When those Saints march into U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday, Sean Payton and Drew Brees will undoubtedly stir up the torturous collective memory of Vikings supporters – a burnt fanbase that still winces at any mention of "2009 NFC Championship game." 

Related:

Repeat after me: The Vikings will not win the Super Bowl

That regular season of course was unbelievable. A 12-4 record, with the gunslinger Brett Favre elevating the roster around him to fairytale heights. The clock struck midnight in the Superdome on Jan. 24, 2010.

Twelve men in the huddle. An interception. An overtime loss. Season over.

Hope is the Trojan Horse of disappointment.

Allow it to maneuver through that crack in your protective wall – "What if this is actually the year?" – and the outcome is inevitable. You will be cut down, as Vikings fans have been time and time again.

But this is not 2009-10.

There are surface differences: Sunday's matchup is a round earlier. This game will take place in Minnesota. And the Saints – while very good – aren't the 13-3 juggernaut they were eight years ago.

More important, however, is the personality of this Minnesota squad.

The 2009-10 Vikings were led by a punchless Brad Childress. They lived and died on the arm of Favre – a notorious risk-taker – and their big playmakers on offense were Adrian Peterson (fumble problems included), an inconsistent Percy Harvin, and one-season wonder Sidney Rice.

The defense had big names (Antoine Winfield, Kevin and Pat Williams, Jared Allen) but was top heavy, full of holes.

It was a playground team: Immensely fun, but prone to abrupt dips and inconsistency.

Their mantra was essentially: "Go out there and make some magic happen."

This current Minnesota team is the antithesis.

The Vikings' game planning and execution each week has been impressively mechanical, built to disrupt and dismantle opponents with tough, smart football. The most remarkable thing about even the flashiest players – Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs – has been their reliability.

The defense, even with individual standouts such as Harrison Smith and Linval Joseph, has operated as a dominant unit, giving up a league leading 15.8 points per game – meaning opposing offenses (particularly the Packers) are about as terrible as the hapless Giants.

The team has been in every single game, without a single blowout loss tainting their 13-3 record. Not once have the Vikings come out and looked unprepared to play.

It's a reflection of head coach Mike Zimmer, whose no-nonsense approach has trickled down through the entire roster.

Their mantra seem to be: "We don't need magic. Just go out there and do your job."

Yes, there have been heartbreaking losses in Minnesota Vikings history. Enough that people float the "curse" theory every time something bad happens.

But supernatural theories? Those are nonsense. And this head coach – and his team – don't buy into it.

"I don’t know, I don’t think there’s any curse," Zimmer said after the regular season finale against the Bears, when asked if he believes in one. "I’ve got a crystal ball and I’ve got a wood spirit hanging in my office. So, there’s no damn curse."

And this isn't the damn 2009 season.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Lost 1-year-old reunited with parents in Brooklyn Park

The girl was found by a concerned citizen around 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Screen Shot 2020-12-27 at 8.33.49 AM

For 2nd time, Minnesota farm devastated by deadly fire

Around 1,000 goats and a litter of puppies were killed when a barn caught fire on Friday.

ambulance

Fleeing suspect crashes, killing innocent driver in Brooklyn Park

The suspect fled police in Osseo and was going south on County Road 81.

1497 S Ferry St, Anoka, MN 55303, United States - August 2021

Body found tangled with debris in the Mississippi River

The individual's name has not yet been released.

Northtown Mall Carnival

Around 100 kids run from carnival fight into Northtown Mall

Police say a large fight was happening on the ferris wheel before kids fled into the mall.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Former state senator Scott Jensen endorsed by GOP for governor

Jensen beat to multiple other hopefuls for the endorsement at Saturday's convention.

storm

NWS already monitoring Thursday for severe weather in MN

Monday-Wednesday should be fantastic weather in Minnesota.

MissingMankatoWomanSideBySide

Body of missing Mankato woman believed to have been found

A canoer found the body in a swamp near Eagle Lake Friday.

kim crockett facebook sos

MN GOP endorses attorney general, secretary of state candidates

Kim Crockett was endorsed as the party's candidate for secretary of state, while Jim Schultz won the endorsement for attorney general.

FSmb9kkWAB0UBqk

Volunteer firefighter identified as man killed during Thursday storms

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office confirmed that 63-year-old Ryan Erickson died when a grain bin fell on him.

Juan Ramos, standing outside of his Taco Chon Mexican Grill, in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Firm takes on case defending Taco Chon against Taco John's lawsuit

The local Mexican restaurant is fighting a case presented by Taco John's over naming rights, among other things.

Related

Was Diggs' TD against the Saints the greatest game-winning play in Minnesota sports history?

Keenum to Diggs is up there – but we can think of two other contenders.

Vikings vs. Saints: How they scored, etc...

The Minnesota Vikings, with running back Adrian Peterson back in the lineup, face the playoff-bound New Orleans Saints. What happened? Click here to see the blow-by-blow, and more...

Zimmer after Vikings' Thanksgiving victory: 'We're playing to f-----g win, at home'

The Vikings' head coach made it clear the goal isn't just to get to the playoffs.

These front pages from New Orleans after the Vikings' stunning win are amazing

Check out these two amazing front pages from the New Orleans area.

Vikings vs. Saints: Week 15 preview

The Minnesota Vikings tackle the New Orleans Saints today at Mall of America Field. Right now, the Saints are fighting for a No. 2 seed in the NFL playoffs while the Vikings are fighting to avoid having the worst record in franchise history.

The Vikings are one of the best teams in the NFL – so why is nobody talking about them?

Minnesota is clearly one of the best teams in the league. You wouldn't know it by checking ESPN or NFL.com.