Photos: Saints beat Vikings 20-9 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints defensive end Glenn Foster (97) tackles Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) with New Orleans Saints defensive end Tyrunn Walker (75) in a game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.


The Saints aren’t going down without a fight. Literally. After an 0-2 start with frustratingly close road losses to Atlanta and Cleveland, New Orleans simply couldn’t afford another defeat and continue to call itself a playoff contender. Sunday’s 20-9 win over a Minnesota Vikings team that lost starting quarterback Matt Cassel after the first quarter and was playing without embattled star running back Adrian Peterson wasn’t pretty by any means. But winning, even by a few points, is all that matters in the NFL. After the first two weeks, the Saints knew that as well as anyone.


Drew Brees’ temper. The Saints quarterback normally keeps his cool except for those whooping and hollering pregame huddles, but Sunday he was enraged after being dropped on his helmet by Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn. Brees came up shoving, his teammates got their blood up, and Minnesota got hit for a 15-yard penalty that kept alive the Saints’ 90-yard touchdown drive that basically put the game out of reach. “Y’all are making a big deal about this,” Brees said as he was asked about the play for about the sixth time. It was that rare an outburst, and that big a moment for New Orleans.


Perhaps the Saints were fortunate not to be playing a better team than the Vikings in such a desperate spot, but starting with two road games was plenty tough. As at Cleveland, the offense evaporated for long stretches, and the defense bent to the breaking point without allowing Minnesota to cross the goal line. Now at least the Saints have a baseline of success as they go back on the road next week at Dallas before returning home to host hapless Tampa Bay. A 3-2 record by the open date is the goal, and all things considered, not a bad one.