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NFL Expert Picks: Vikings Facing Saints in Crucial NFC Matchup

The Vikings and the New Orleans Saints have provided some thrilling battles over the years, especially in recent memory.

Minnesota has won four of the past six matchups against New Orleans since 2017, three of which have featured game-winning plays. Vikings fans will never forget where they were for the "Minneapolis Miracle" in January 2018, or the walk-off touchdown two years later provided by former tight end Kyle Rudolph, who officially retired as a Viking this September.

Two years after that, in Week 4 of the 2022 season, Minnesota kicker Greg Joseph booted a career-high five field goals in London – including a 47-yarder to put the Vikings in front with 24 seconds left for a 28-25 lead. Minnesota held on when a 61-yard attempt double doinked off the goal post.

This week, the two teams will meet for another installment in their rivalry, as the Vikings host the Saints on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Both teams are sitting at 5-4 in the NFC standings, which is becoming increasingly crowded as the season progresses. Nine NFC teams have records between 5-3 and 3-5. And with nine weeks of football still remaining, any team can heat up and turn their season around.

The Vikings have won four consecutive games and five of their past six. The Saints are on a two-game winning streak and currently lead the NFC South. Minnesota is 2-1 against NFC South opponents this season, picking up wins at Carolina in Week 4 and Atlanta last week.

Minnesota and New Orleans have met 37 times in their history, with Minnesota holding a 24-13 advantage. The Vikings are 14-4 at home (2-0 in the playoffs) against the Saints. The two teams haven't played against each other in Minneapolis since Oct. 28, 2018, which resulted in a 30-20 Saints victory.

Let's see who the experts are picking to win the game:

Vikings 24, Saints 22 – Brooke Cersosimo –

OK, I see you, Josh Dobbs. The Passtronaut's heroic performance in last week's win over Atlanta – which began with him practicing his cadence with the offensive line on the sideline, then saw him deliver several big-time scrambles and a game-winning TD drive – provides hope for a Minnesota team currently holding the final Wild Card spot. He has a full week with his new team to prepare for another NFC South foe, but the offense will be without Cam Akers (Achilles tear), likely without Justin Jefferson and potentially without K.J. Osborn (concussion). Putting up 30 points for a second straight week feels like a tall order against New Orleans' seventh-ranked overall and scoring defense – especially considering Week 9 was the first time Minnesota reached the mark all season – but it might be necessary with Derek Carr and the Saints averaging six more points per game (24.4) on the road than at the Superdome. This one might come down to Brian Flores' defense making the final play. Minnesota is the underdog, but once again, I believe!

Vikings 25, Saints 20 – Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

The Vikings pulled off a shocking win when Joshua Dobbs came off the bench to beat Atlanta last week after being traded to the team last Tuesday. Now that he's been there for a little more time, he should be more comfortable. The Saints have won their last two as the offense has come alive some. But they will be challenged here by the Minnesota defense. Look for the Vikings to get another victory with Dobbs.

Vikings 26, Saints 23 – Staff, Bleacher Report

The Vikings may have found the right quarterback to fill in for Kirk Cousins, who tore his Achilles two weeks ago.

Last week, after rookie fifth-round quarterback Jaren Hall suffered a concussion early in the first quarter, Joshua Dobbs took over and led the team to a 31-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons with highlight plays as a passer and ball-carrier late in the contest.

While Dobbs looked impressive under short notice, he'll now go up against the New Orleans Saints, who have all week to prepare for him.

"The loss of running back Cam Akers is a blow for Minnesota because the Saints have been much more consistent defending the pass than the run," Bleacher Report NFL analyst Kris Knox said. "However, I see Joshua Dobbs doing enough with his legs to give the Saints problems, just as Trevor Lawrence did in Week 7.

"I don't know if either of these teams are serious playoff contenders," Knox added. "I'll take the one playing at home."

Vikings 24, Saints 23 – Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

Josh Dobbs has saved Minnesota's season and at 5-4, it is very much in the NFC Wild Card and division mix after recovering well from an 0-3 start. Also at 5-4, New Orleans is back in control of a weak NFC South. These teams are even, and the Vikings defense remains on the uptick under Brian Flores, while the Saints defense has holes, especially vs. mobile QBs such as Dobbs. Derek Carr on the road gets roughed up enough.

Saints 28, Vikings 25 – Bill Bender, Sporting News

This is a battle of 5-4 teams in the NFC playoff hunt. The Vikings are 1-3 S/U at home, which is surprising considering their reputation there. Dobbs led the comeback against the Falcons. Can he do it against another NFC South team? The Saints have not beat a team that currently has a winning record, but they are 3-2 S/U on the road. The Vikings won 28-25 last season. This time, the Saints return the favor.

2 of 7 experts pick the Vikings, The MMQB

1 of 6 experts (4 of 10 total had not submitted) pick the Vikings, ESPN

"Straight-up consensus" from seven experts: Vikings, Bleacher Report

3 of 12 experts pick the Vikings, The Athletic