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4 game changers for Vikings vs. Saints

The Vikings and Saints play the first of two Monday Night Football games this week.

Kickoff between the Vikings and Saints is set for 6:10 p.m. Monday. Here are four factors that will play a huge role in the season opener. 

1. Stopping the No. 1 offense

Drew Brees has been with the Saints for 11 seasons, and in those 11 seasons he's fueled the Saints to a No. 1 total offense six times. In the five years they weren't topping the league they finished second twice, fourth twice and sixth once.

  • 2016: 1st (426 yards/game)
  • 2015: 2nd (403 yards/game)
  • 2014: 1st (411 yards/game)
  • 2013: 4th (399 yards/game)
  • 2012: 2nd (410 yards/game)
  • 2011: 1st (467 yards/game)
  • 2010: 6th (372 yards/game)
  • 2009: 1st (403 yards/game)
  • 2008: 1st (410 yards/game)
  • 2007: 4th (361 yards/game)
  • 2006: 1st (391 yards/game)

The Vikings had the third-ranked passing defense last season, not far behind the No. 1-ranked Broncos pass defense, which Brees threw for 303 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions against. The guy is typically awesome against every team, no matter how good they are. 

2. Bradford could light them up

Quarterback Sam Bradford and the Vikings' first-team offense failed to score a touchdown in the preseason, but even with offensive line concerns and a rookie (Dalvin Cook) in the backfield, Bradford should be able to attack a suspect Saints secondary. 

As Canal Street Chronicles points out, the Saints cornerbacks include two rookies, three second-year players, and a guy who has played only six quarters in his entire career. New Orleans drafted Marcus Lattimore 11th overall to help improve a passing defense that allowed an NFL worst 274 yards per game last season.

3. Everson Griffen vs. a rookie left tackleFormer Wisconsin Badger Ryan Ramcyzk will start at left tackle for the Saints, meaning his night will feature plenty of one-on-one's against Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen. According to the New Orleans Advocate, Ramcyzk played in only two preseason games and was beaten at least four times against quality competition. 

4. Adrian could have a big game

If the Vikings play the run like they did last season they me be watching Peterson score at U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time. Minnesota finished 20th against the run last season, allowing 106.9 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry. 

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