The first Monday Night Football game features the NFC South New Orleans Saints and the NFC North Minnesota Vikings. The Saints recorded two wins and two losses in the preseason, as did the Vikings. Of special note is the fact that the usually defenseless Saints allowed just 41 points in exhibition games, while the Vikings gave up a whopping 91 points. Our 2017 Saints play Vikings NFL free pick has Minnesota at -3.0 and the over/under at 47.5.
New Orleans Offense vs. Vikings Defense
The Saints certainly have a few running backs, including former Viking and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson and 1,000-plus RB Mark Ingram. In addition, this year they added third round draft pick Alvin Kamara. That’s a whole lot of ground-gaining potential. Of course, Drew Brees will be on hand to toss the football as much as possible. Although star receiver Brandon Cooks went to New England in the off-season, New Orleans did sign veteran Ted Ginn to be their number two pass catcher and they welcome back rookie sensation Michael Thomas for his second season. There’s a lot of offensive potential on this team.
The Vikings had the league’s third-ranked defense last season, allowing just 314.9 yards per game in 2016. They return nearly every starter, including five who made the Pro Bowl: linebacker Anthony Barr, defensive end Everson Griffen, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith. This guys will be tough to beat.
Minnesota Offense vs. Saints Defense
The Viking offense includes QB Sam Bradfor who was acquired from the Eagles in a quick transaction as the 2016 season started. He’ll be tossing to Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen; both of whom are quality pass catchers. The ground game looks solid, as veteran Latavius Murray and second-round draft pick Dalvin Cook, along with holdover Jerick McKinnon, will all be active.
The Saints have had a lot of problems in the secondary. They turned to the 2017 NFL Draft to solve some of their problems. The secondary, which posted just nine picks in 2016, now includes corner Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State). He is speedy and tall. The frontline may be to the best part of the D. DE Cameron Jordan, a two-time Pro Bowl pick, led the club in sacks with 7.5. Nick Fairly, at tackle, had 6.5 takedowns in his initial season with the team. They have some solid young tackles coming up and brought in former Arizona Cardinals end Alex Okafor who is a fine pass-rusher. The LB unit has changed a lot and probably for the better.
2017 Saints Play Vikings NFL Free Pick
Despite the solid Minnesota defense, we like Brees and company in terms of points scored. At the same time, we think that the Vikings will score some too. Our 2017 Saints play Vikings NFL free pick is the over at 47.5 and the Saints at +3.0.