Feeling uneasy heading to Big Easy
LIMBECK:Hey, Captain Purple, you look awfully winded. Don't tell me your concerned about the Vikings thin numbers at cornerback and wide receiver and you're working to get your 40 time down? You do have the build of a slot receiver, kind of a miniature Bobby Wade, without the biceps of course. This should be a great time, the Vikings playing at the Saints in the season opener on Thursday. But doesn't there appear to be a lot of gloom-and-doom about this game and the season in general already?
FELDMAN: Bobby Wade? I'd describe myself as more like Troy Williamson, with Daunte Culpepper's small hands and Pat Williams' 40 time. I can't figure out why no one will sign me. As for the doom and gloom, there's too much of it, and for the wrong reasons. I've never seen so much hand-wringing among fans over a backup QB. We'll get back to that another day, but for now, Vikings fans, enjoy Thursday night. The entire country will be watching as NBC continuously reminds us of all the turnovers the Vikings had back in late January at the Superdome. Are your emotional wounds healed yet, Helmet Hair? I still become ill when clips of that game are shown.
LIMBECK: The wounds of the NFC title game loss to the Saints have turned to scars. And old Vikings fans have plenty of those. You and the rest of Vikings fans better get ready for plenty of Saints clips from the NFC title game on Thursday. Don't be surprised if they start by showing the game-winning field goal. And you know the ill-timed Brett Favre interception will be shown. Speaking of Favre, what kind of performance do you think he will give the Vikings on Thursday?
FELDMAN: Brett Favre will just be runnin' around out there havin' fun, doing what Brett Favre does. He's a gunslinger and nobody can be Brett Favre quite like Brett Favre. Brett Favre. Favre. … Seriously, though, we can't expect him to have the season he did in 2009. That's unrealistic. His preseason has been shaky, and he didn't get off to a great start last season, either. And, more importantly, can the Vikes' o-line keep Favre from becoming a permanent part of the Superdome turf?
LIMBECK: The line looks like it will be without center John Sullivan, so that could be a problem. The Saints are going to try to bring as much heat as they can on Favre and want to hit him as much as they did in the NFC title game. A great neutralizer would be to have a stellar running game. If Adrian Peterson have start this season like he did a year ago against the Browns, the Vikings will be in good shape. What does the Vikings defense have to do to slow down Drew Brees?
FELDMAN: It needs to do the same thing to Brees that the Saints did to Favre back in January — take every opportunity to hit him hard and let Brees know they'll be after him all night. Of course, that means the Vikes' front four will have to generate some pressure, which they didn't do in the preseason. If they can't generate that pressure, then the depleted secondary will be charged with keeping the Saints passing game in check. Did the Vikings coaches make a mistake by keeping just three healthy corners?
LIMBECK: You can't be too concerned that the pass rush wasn't stellar in the preseason. It was just preseason. The Vikings have proven linemen. You know Jared Allen will go all-out once the season begins and Ray Edwards will be playing with a chip on his shoulder because he's mad about his contract. The pass rush is fine. The defensive backs? That could be a concern. But maybe Cedric Griffin will make an appearance. Or prehaps Rochester's own Marcus Sherels will be brought up from the practice squad? Hey, we we're running out of space, and never got to T-Jack. If Favre plays like he did a year ago, T-Jack will never play an important down this season anyway.
FELDMAN: That's precisely why the whole backup QB story has been overblown. If Favre goes down, this team is in trouble, regardless of who is backing him up. I'd prefer to get my Helga Braids in a bunch over the lack of depth at receiver and cornerback. But I'd also prefer to approach the first week as glass half-full. The Vikes have a lot of talent returning and a sour taste left over from eight months ago. Let's start the season out the right way: Vikings 33, Saints 27.
LIMBECK: I like your attitude. Your 40 time? Not so much. I think the Vikings will be a bit more hungry in this game as well: Vikings 27, Saints 24.