Try as you might, you’ll have a hard time breaking down the New Orleans Saints’ Week 1 encounter with the host Minnesota Vikings without considering the biggest storyline of all: Adrian Peterson’s return to Minneapolis. Peterson was the most decorated player in Vikings history before leaving for New Orleans in the offseason; he’s now a complimentary piece of a Saints offense that will be in tough against the Vikings’ vaunted defense. This is the first of two Monday Night Football matchups on the Week 1 schedule.
New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings
Point spread: Vikings -3
Date: Monday, September 11, 7:10 p.m.
U.S. Bank Stadium — Minneapolis, Minn.
Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Vikings are installed by Sports Interaction as a 3-point favorite on the NFL odds board, with a healthy over/under total of 48.
Defenses tend to get short-shrifted early in the season, which explains why oddsmakers have set the total near 50 despite the host Vikings allowing the third-fewest yards and sixth-fewest points in 2016. New Orleans was a modest 9-7 O/U last year, but that’s in part because all but one of their games had a total of 50 or higher. The Saints are 5-2-1 O/U in eight games with a total below 50 over the past two seasons.
New Orleans Saints
While the arrival of Peterson bolsters an already solid backfield that also added Alvin Kamara through the draft, the Saints will need to make do without 2016 starting receiver Brandin Cooks, who now suits up for New England. But that shouldn’t be a problem with Drew Brees at the helm; no quarterback is better at spreading the wealth, which should mean big things for the 2017 receiving corps, led by electrifying second-year player Michael Thomas.
The Vikings’ offense found itself in transition last season thanks in large part to injuries suffered by Peterson and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Sam Bradford is accurate, but prefers the safe play to the long bomb, which caps the upside of an otherwise uninspiring offense. Rookie Dalvin Cook is the go-to guy in the backfield to start the season, but he might see some competition from former Oakland Raiders top rusher Latavius Murray.
Saints vs. Vikings Predictions
Saints 27, Vikings 24