The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints matchup expects to be the best one of the Divisional Round Weekend. The matchups I’m most excited about watching are the Vikings defensive backs against the Saints wide receivers. Then, the Vikings wide receivers against the Saints defensive backs.
Although the Saints secondary is fairly young and inexperienced, they’ve grown leaps and bounds over the course of the season, and especially since the week 1 matchup.
The Comparisons and Matchups
The wide receivers are fairly similar for both teams in terms of the style of players, and since they’re run primarily through two receivers.
For the number one receivers on both sides, you could look to compare Michael Thomas and Adam Thielen both in size, style of play and stats from the regular season (Both going over twelve hundred yards respectively). I expect both receivers to be shadowed by each defense’s number one cornerback.
We’ve seen Rhodes shutdown some star-studded receivers this season (Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, AJ Green and Julio Jones). Marshon Lattimore is not slouch either. He’s grown immensely in his rookie season in a true shutdown corner.
In the clip below, you’ll the Vikings got Diggs isolated one on one against one of the Saints backup cornerbacks. Diggs should win these matchups every-time.
Then, you have the two deep threats in Ted Ginn Jr. and Stefon Diggs. Both guys bring the explosiveness to each offense. But, this is the key matchup that I see favors the Vikings heavily. Diggs has proven he can be a number one wide receiver when healthy, and could see an easier matchup against the Saints Ken Crawley. Ginn on the other hand draws the Vikings Trae Waynes, who has grown significantly over the course of the season, and has the speed to stick with Ginn on deep routes.
In this matchup, we’ll see two young cornerbacks who have grown immensely over the past two seasons. Crawley will see an extremely tough matchup with Stefon Diggs, who is in himself a number one receiver. Waynes will face Ted Ginn Jr. the Saints deep threat who torched the Panthers defense last week during Wild Card Weekend. Waynes has the speed (4.31 40-yard dash) to stick with Ginn Jr. (4.28 40-yard dash) on deep posts, go-routes and double moves.
This is where the Saints and Vikings differ in terms of a third pass catchers. The Vikings rely heavily on tight end Kyle Rudolph with his 6’6’ frame and red zone ability. While the Saints have the do-it-all back, Alvin Kamara. This matchup is the for both offenses, but, especially the Saints. Kamara finished the regular season with over 1,500 combined rushing and receiving yards with 13 touchdowns.
Third Defensive Back
The defensive back/linebacker I expect to follow Alvin Kamara is a combination or Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr. This is the matchup the Vikings should have the toughest figuring out, since the Saints use Kamara in some many different ways. As for Rudolph, I’d expect their linebackers Manti Te’o and former Viking Michael Mauti to draw this tough task. The Saints linebackers struggled against Greg Olsen last week (8 receptions for 107 yards and 1 touchdown).
In the clip above, you’ll see how the Saints utilize Alvin Kamara in creative ways. They get him isolated in the slot against outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. The Vikings will need to make sure they don’t get caught in a scenario like this one.
I’m excited for this matchup between the Vikings and Saints. For as good as the Vikings defense has been this season, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this game did turn into a high scoring shootout with all the number of weapons on both teams.