Sports

Vikings will reportedly activate Sam Bradford against Saints in divisional round

Vikings will reportedly activate Sam Bradford against Saints in divisional round

Brees can put a defense on the ropes with his bevy of weapons on offense, but it'll be lights out for the Vikings if they allow Thomas to get going. Kamara led the league with 6.1 yards per carry as the Saints had an NFC-best 4.7 yards per carry as a team.

The Saints love playing in domes.

This is the one area everyone will be the most concerned about in this game: slowing Drew Brees. Let's not forget the Saints played in the most hard division in football and they still were first in yards-per-play differential. There are no elements to deal with. The defense has proven that they can win games by themselves. Here's the thing: Sunday weather in Minneapolis calls for 80 percent chance of snow and a high of 15 degrees. He's just fast, physical, just a smart player.

Just look at the numbers.

Shurmur interviewed with all three teams last week. The veteran quarterback was clicking in the Wild Card game vs. the Panthers, dropping several throws into tight windows. The total, meanwhile, sits at 46.5. The Vikings have the talent on the back end to limit those kinds of days with Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith. The Saints still have to love what Brees did last week. He's still the same pinpoint accurate passer with weapons on the outside. Keenum heard the press conference, same as we all did, when Jeff Fisher and Les Snead declared Goff "our guy" and the Rams "franchise quarterback", and in the months that followed, as the urgency for Goff's ascension grew feverish and the chants at the Coliseum began and reporter after reporter asked about him losing his job before he'd even lost it, Keenum knew that sooner or later the day would come.

Despite being NFC Division leaders, the Eagles are actually considered an underdog this post-season with the devastating injury QB Carson Wentz sustained earlier in December.

The bottom line: Like every other area of Vikings-Saints, the matchup is extremely close. The problem is only the Chiefs and Patriots have turned it over fewer times this season than the Vikings offense has.

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Not only is Kamara a threat on the ground, he's established himself as a viable asset out of the backfield in the passing game. We had read - or in some cases, written - that story countless times before. He's allowing Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph to make plays.

The Vikings will try to prevent that from happening and have kept Keenum fairly clean with just 22 sacks this season. He's been that good.

Case Keenum understood, as well as anyone, that he was a placeholder. The punting and kicking game will be a significant factor in Sunday's bout. He's been great all year, but the playoffs are a different animal.

It's sink or swim at this point, and Keenum's on-field play will be a key indicator of whether the Vikings are drowning or treading water.

Prediction: The Vikings are the slightly better all-around team, but I don't trust Keenum against an opportunistic defense.

The Jaguars defense is the best in the NFL. He was taken by New Orleans with the No. 24 pick in the 2011 draft, and Sunday will mark the fourth time since then that his father has had to root against the Vikings.

As for Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, he's hoping that those difficulties will work in his favor.


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