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Vikings-Saints Week 1 Stats Foreshadowed Elements of 2017 Season

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —The Vikings love playing at home, from the fire-breathing dragon and flaming runestones during introductions to the sights and sounds of fans' overhead claps during the SKOL Chant.

They also love being efficient on offense, highly effective on defense and giving maximum effort on special teams.

That broad combination and more detailed factors played significant roles in Minnesota (13-3) going 7-1 at home this season and earning the right to host Sunday's Divisional game against the Saints (11-5 regular season, 1-0 postseason).

The Saints also went 7-1 in home games in 2017 but were 4-4 in road games, including a 29-19 loss to the Vikings in Week 1.

Who and what the teams were that night, however, doesn't meant that's who and what they were the rest of the season or will be on Sunday.

For the sake of comparison, we'll take a look at a couple of offensive and defensive categories for both teams and look for significant departures from season averages in road games for the Saints and home games for the Vikings.

Vikings Offense vs. Saints Defense

Minnesota's offense fired on all cylinders, playing above its averages in 2017 home games and racking up 470 yards, which was 85 yards more than what the Vikings averaged at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings did this, in large part, with accurate passes — Sam Bradford completed 27 of 32 attempts (84.4 percent) — and converting a season-best 9-for-14 (64.2 percent) of third downs against a defense that hadn't quite jelled.

While these stats were highly impressive, they were signs that Minnesota would complete passes at a high rate and convert on third downs with Bradford, who had just set a new record for completion percentage (71.6 percent) in 2016.

The curve ball, however, was that Bradford would be lost for all but one start the rest of the way, and Case Keenum would fill in admirably.

It wasn't the way that Keenum or the Vikings drew it up, but he showed he could play at a high level. Keenum completed 68.3 percent of his passes in seven starts at home and finished the season with a rate of 67.6 in all games that ranked second only to record-reclaimer Drew Brees' 72.0 rate in all of 2017.

The Vikings converted 44.7 percent of their third downs at home and 43.5 percent total (third in the NFL).

Saints Offense vs. Vikings Defense

For his part, Brees completed 73.0 percent of his passes, but the Saints went 4-for-11 (36.4 percent) and totaled 284 net passing yards.

Brees only had one road game in which he completed less than 70 percent of his passes (68.8 at Los Angeles Rams), but New Orleans fared better in third-down conversions against all road foes except the Rams (3-for-13, 23.1 percent) and Falcons (3-for-10, 30 percent).

It's worth noting that the Saints were 0-for-2 against the Vikings in the third quarter when Minnesota kept the ball for 10:35. The Vikings built momentum and a 26-9 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Saints went 2-of-3 on the possession that followed but settled for a field goal.

The 4-for-11 conversion rate wound up being the second highest by any Vikings opponent at U.S. Bank Stadium this season. Baltimore (6-for-16, 37.5 percent) had the best, and the Rams went 3-for-11 (27.3 percent) for the third-best rate.

Minnesota held the Bengals and Bears to a combined 2-for-25 (8.0 percent) in its final two home games.

The Vikings allowed foes to convert 23 of 99 third downs this season, which helped Minnesota limit opponents to an average of 12.5 points per game (19 by the Saints were the most by any team).

Stat Comparisons Between New Orleans & Minnesota

The stats list below includes a comparison of the numbers that New Orleans and Minnesota put up against each other in Week 1, as well as (2017 averages for the offenses of New Orleans in road games and Minnesota in home games) and [2017 averages for the defenses of New Orleans in road games and Minnesota in home games].

Points Scored

NO-19 (25.9); MIN-29 (24.8)

Points Allowed

NO-29 [18.3]; MIN-19 [12.5]

First downs gained

NO-19 (21.1); MIN-23 (21.3)

First downs allowed

NO-23 [19.5]; MIN-19 [15.4]

Net Yards gained

NO-344 (374.4); MIN-470 (385)

Net Yards Allowed

NO-470 [326.9]; MIN-344 [248.5]

Net Rushing Yards

NO-60 (127.4); MIN-129 (133)

Net Rushing Yards Allowed

NO-129 [112.4]; MIN-60 [55]

Net Passing Yards

NO-284 (247); MIN-341 (252)

Net Passing Yards Allowed

NO-341 [214.5]; MIN-284 [193.5]


NO-27 (24.1); MIN-27 (22.5)

Completions Allowed

NO-27 [20.6]; MIN-27 [22.3]


NO-37 (33.4); MIN-32 (32.3)

Opponent Attempts

NO-32 [33.5]; MIN 37 [35.6]

Completion Percentage

NO-73.0 (72.3); MIN 84.4 (69.8)

Opponent Completion Percentage

NO-84.4 [61.6]; MIN 73.0 [62.2]

Passer Rating

NO-104.7 (103.9); MIN 143 (99.1)

Opponent Passer Rating

NO-143 [79.0]; MIN 104.3 [73.0]

Third-Down Conversion Percentage

NO-36.4 (42.9); MIN 64.2 (44.7)

Opponent Third-down Conversion Percentage

NO-64.2 [45.1]; MIN 36.4 [23.2]

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