The Vikings will open up the new season at U.S. Bank Stadium in front of a national audience on *Monday Night Football *in a matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
Minnesota will face the test of defending a familiar face, Adrian Peterson, who joined the Saints this offseason.
Let’s see who the experts pick to win Monday’s matchup.
Calling a *Saints road upset here. At least I think this is an upset. What did we see from the Vikings offense in the preseason? Every unit scored except for the first-teamers. From the New Orleans defense? Vast improvement, including (but not limited to) the consistent heat put on opponents' quarterbacks. Meanwhile, Minnesota's defense, which has been a certifiable strength in the Mike Zimmer era, endured a few lulls — particularly in the secondary -— at Seattle. Keep paring this matchup down, and ultimately this NFC battle comes down to the quarterbacks: Kyle Rudolph vs. Drew Brees. Eek. That said, running back Dalvin Cook could make a mark in his first official action. Ditto Saints freshman Alvin Kamara. This Peterson guy is supposed to play, as well. Wait ... is that the running back who used to play with Kyle Orton in Chicago? *#NOvsMIN
Saints 24, Vikings 20— Elliot Harrison*, *NFL.com
The New Orleans Saints are going to face a tough environment in Minnesota against the Vikings. However, Sean Payton, *Drew Brees and Co. aren't likely to be phased by the challenge.*
If you've been paying attention, you'll know that I'm high on New Orleans. With Payton having an entire offseason to game-plan for Minnesota, the Saints should have the advantage here. The Vikings defense can be special, but it surrendered an alarming number of big plays in the preseason. With the Saints coming to town, that's a huge concern.
On the flip side, the Saints have really improved on the defensive side of the ball. While the Minnesota offense should be better than it was in 2016, the New Orleans defense is going to be better too. Since Brees has more weapons at his disposal, I like the Saints on the road.
Saints 31, Vikings 21 — Chris Simms, Bleacher Report
This looks like a great game between two playoff contenders. The Saints aren't the same team away from the friendly confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but their offense looks fantastic this year and should score points even against a tough Vikings defense.
The difference here will be wide receiver Stefon Diggs. … He'll lead Minnesota to a close win.
Vikings 21, Saints 20 — Paul Kasabian, Bleacher Report
This is a tough road game for the Saints. The Vikings have a good defense, but this will be about slowing *Drew Brees. I am not sure they can. Evens so, Sam Bradford will make a play late to win a close one for the Vikings.*
*Vikings 24, Saints 23 *— Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
The Vikings defense will shut down *Adrian Peterson in his return to Minnesota, and the Vikings offense will control the ball just well enough to keep Drew Brees from a lights out game. The Vikings will open 1-0.*
*Vikings 20, Saints 14 *— Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk
Adrian Peterson returns to Minnesota but he may not get many opportunities to stick it to the home team. The real question is whether the Vikings offense can stick it to a traditionally overmatched New Orleans defense. At home, they can.
*Vikings 30, Saints 24 *— Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
FiveThirtyEight’s 2015 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team’s chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning Super Bowl 50. Playoff probabilities are based on 20,000 simulations of the season and will update after each game.
Pre-game win probabilities: *Vikings 59 percent *— FiveThirtyEight.com