Vikings would face Eagles in NFC Championship with win over Saints


Favre congratulated the Vikings and "Coach Z" on a "great season". Jordan, a first-team All-Pro pick this year, rushes from both sides. The Vikings have a ton of talent in their back-four. The Saints had won the last three meetings, including the last one in Minneapolis (42-20 in 2011).

The reason why New Orleans was able to end their playoff drought is because of how well-rounded they are.

In the Saints' case, they altered their offensive identity to rely on Ingram and Kamara.

A amusing thing happened though on New Orleans' way to another disappointing crater of a season. Coleman can be a solid weapon in the Saints passing game, and he has 3 touchdowns to go with 362 yards on just 23 catches. It's been a stirring ride worthy of the late John Facenda and the NFL Films orchestra providing the soundtrack.

KEYS TO THE GAME: This game should feature a lot of great talent, outstanding coaching and one of the most unexpected quarterback battles in the history of the National Football League playoffs.

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he is unsure if quarterback Sam Bradford will dress for Sunday's divisional matchup against the New Orleans Saints. The OVER is 7-2 in the last nine games between these two teams. As a team, the Saints' 42 sacks were tied for seventh in the NFL.

The Panthers screwed up a bit by focusing so much on stopping the Saints' outstanding rushing attack, led by Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara - and basically dared Brees to beat them.

"We'll chuckle and laugh after we get this win about his team", he said.

"I want to destroy them just the same", he said. Second, Minnesota matches up with their explosive offense better than any defense in football.

Only one player (Brian Robison) remains from the Vikings team that lost to the Saints in the 2010 NFC Championship Game, so while fans might be hoping to exorcise ghosts from the overtime loss, players don't seem to be thinking that way.

A couple more must-haves: Ladies, if you're headed to the stadium, be sure to pack your Saints stadium-approved see-though bag. Particularly at the most important position: quarterback.

"This league is a copy-cat league so I wouldn't be surprised if Minnesota did it", Kamara said, expressing no concern about the strategy by pointing to Brees, whose passing yardage total against the Panthers was his second-highest of the season. It'll fall on that No. 1-ranked Vikings defense to stop the Saints' offensive storm-Thunder, Lightning and Brees from making it rain passes.

Of the three, only Bridgewater has any playoff experience - all of one game. This is Keenum's first playoff start. He had TD run last season in playoffs for Raiders against Texans.

The Vikings have been a pleasant surprise on offense, with career backup Case Keenum thriving at quarterback, but Minnesota's real success story is its top-rated defense that will be hard for the Saints to break down.

Bradford has practiced the past two weeks.

Saints-Vikings, after all, is a rivalry.

Eight years ago, the last Minnesota team considered a strong Super Bowl contender was on the verge of victory in New Orleans in the NFC championship game despite four earlier turnovers inside the raucous Superdome.