Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro, a social media enthusiast, has witnessed online fan reaction to this season’s 0-2 start.

From tweets to memes. Shares to posts.

So on Wednesday afternoon, Vaccaro was asked if he had a message to deliver via the media to Saints fans. He recommended patience.

“Ride with us,” said Vaccaro, a second-year pro. “Believe me. We hear about it on Twitter all day. This and that. How we’re not this, how we’re not that.

“But just ride with us. We know we have a loyal fan base. Stick in (it) for the long run.”

The subpar start to 2014 has surprised fans and players alike.

Quarterback Drew Brees answered no when asked Wednesday if he thought the 2014 Saints had a chance to be winless (0-2) entering Sunday’s home opener against Minnesota (1-1).

“I go out there believing we can win every game,” Brees said. “It’s difficult, near impossible. But we have high expectations.”

Minutes earlier, coach Sean Payton said he would not have believed before the season that the Saints would have the league’s fifth-best rushing attack (156.5 yards per game) yet lose at Atlanta and Cleveland.

Opportunity for RBs

To Minnesota quarterback Matt Cassel, playing Sunday without Adrian Peterson is more of a chance for another player to standout than an expected loss.

It’s how Cassel in 2008 morphed from Tom Brady’s backup to an NFL starter following Brady’s season-ending injury.

“The fact of the matter was, when I got my start in New England. ... That’s how I got started,” Cassel said. “It was an opportunity where Tommy got hurt. Nobody thought we could do anything. We closed ranks, so to speak, and went on to an 11-5 season. Guys get opportunities in this league all the time.”

Matt Asiata (15 carries for 46 yards) and Jerick McKinnon (three carries for 8 yards) are the top candidates to fill in for Peterson, whose 97.9 yards per game ranks behind only Jim Brown (104.3) and Barry Sanders (99.8).

Ex-Saint playing well

In 2011, former Saints defensive end Tom Johnson notched his first NFL sack against the Vikings. Now Johnson is playing for Minnesota. He has two sacks during his first two games with the Vikings.

He was released this offseason from the Saints after three years. Johnson had five sacks with the Saints.

“He’s playing well up there,” said Saints offensive lineman Tim Lelito, who went up against Johnson at Saints practice. “They’re an aggressive defensive line, so we’re going to have to be ready.”

Injury report

Saints missing Wednesday’s practice: middle linebacker David Hawthorne (ankle), center Jonathan Goodwin (elbow), running back Mark Ingram (hand), fullback Erik Lorig (ankle) and safety Marcus Ball (hamstring). Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (shoulder) was limited. For the Vikings, defensive tackle Shariff Floyd (shoulder), linebacker Chad Greenway (hand/rib) and offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle) missed practice, while cornerback Xavier Rhodes (groin), tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen), receiver Rodney Strong (hamstring) and linebacker Brandon Watts (knee) was limited.