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What'd They Say: Saints Talk About Vikings

The Vikings will host the Saints for the third time in just over a year.

The two teams will face off on Sunday Night Football, and each will try to extend its win streak. Minnesota has three victories in a row; New Orleans hasn't lost since Week 1.

Players from both teams have emphasized throughout the week that it's a new season, and the Saints and Vikings rosters look a little different this season than last.

Saints running back Alvin Kamara, who currently is averaging 60.5 rushing yards per game, pointed out that the upcoming game is in a different part of the season than last year, when New Orleans came to Minnesota for the season opener and again for the Divisional Round playoff game in January.

"We're catching them in the middle of the season, [and] both teams are doing well," Kamara said. "It's another game, it's another Sunday in the NFL. Any team can win. You've got to bring your best.

"We have money in the bank with them," Kamara said. "We've played them a couple of times, so there's some things that carry over, but it's a new year. We're focused on what we have to do this year to beat this team. It's a new season."

Saints defensive end Cam Jordan, **son of Vikings Legend** Steve Jordan, is familiar with the Vikings offense but knows it won't look the exact same as last season.

"There's a new quarterback (Kirk Cousins), at the helm, so it's not like you have any familiarity there," Jordan said. "When it comes to Adam Thielen, he's made a name for himself the last couple years. He's been balling, and he's playing at a high level this year. That's something that we have to be aware of."

In a way, Sunday's contest has the feel of a **non-division, divisional game** between the NFC North and NFC South squads.

"Sometimes it feels that way," Saints linebacker A.J. Klein said. "And I probably would put my money that we'll see them again next year somehow – or in the playoffs [this season] again. But they're becoming very familiar. So that's up to us – we've seen them this many times, we should be prepared."

Here are other highlights from the Saints talking about the Vikings this week:

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton on Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's coaching style:

"We coached together for three years and have always had a real good relationship. Following Mike, when he left Dallas and landed in Cincinnati, is where you began to see a lot of the things you see now from Minnesota. Very quickly, he's put together a great football team and also an outstanding defense.

"There's been some changes offensively that we've got to look at, and yet, there's some fundamental principles that still stand. A handful of these guys, we ended up having the chance to coach with and spend time with at the Pro Bowl. When you get to coach in that game, and you'd rather not if you're in the playoffs, but when you get to coach in that game, you really get an appreciation for the great players around the league — not only their skill set, but all of the great things that go along with it."

Payton on Kirk Cousins:

"He's always been a real good passer. He's got a quick stroke. He's very decisive and knows where he wants to go. He can get the ball down the field, and you see that. I feel like their vertical passing game has expanded some, and you're seeing big strikes that aren't just underneath. He's a competitor. We've played against him just a year ago in a real tough game when he was in Washington, so I think the fit has been real good for him there."

S Kurt Coleman on the Diggs-Thielen duo:

"When you look at what Adam Thielen and Diggs are doing, they're really setting themselves apart as far as the duos in the league. They're just great at being able to separate at the top end of their coverage. But I think Kirk Cousins is really having a lot of confidence in those guys. He's not afraid to throw it in tough coverages, and they're coming up with a lot of big plays. But we're excited about this challenge.

"I do know that Adam has seven straight games with 100 yards, so he's doing a great job. But I'm more excited about what we're going to do on our side."

Klein on Thielen, Vikings offense:

"If you just look at Thielen, you can't really say enough about the guy. I think it's an NFL record, seven straight games with 100 yards receiving, and [Stefon] Diggs and even [Kyle] Rudolph, I mean, they have a lot of playmakers on that offensive side of the ball. Third downs have to be key for us this week, but it's hard to say, 'Hey, we want to shut down one facet of their game,' because they're multi-faceted. We just have to play our best game yet.

"I think [Thielen] just has a knack for getting open. I think he runs great routes no matter who he's against – I feel like he just finds a way to get open. Whether it's down the field double moves, over routes, I mean, in the slot. They move him around so they put him in favorable matchups, but he's just a playmaker. He catches the ball often."

Jordan on whether Vikings fans are 'annoying':

"Minnesotans are darn-near Canadians. There's nothing annoying about them. They're just overly nice, overly kind. It's not like it's Philly, where they're throwing beer bottles at anybody. It's Minnesota."

Kamara on Minnesota's defense:

"A talented defense, great up front. Those guys are big – they create havoc for O-lines. Their back end is just as good – smart players, physical players, they don't really make a lot of mistakes."