In Part I of an exclusive three-part series, Vikingupdate.com's Tim Yotter and SaintsInsider.com's Matthew Postins are previewing Monday night's game in New Orleans. Get the scoop with their exclusive Q&As heading into Monday's game. Read Part I by clicking here, then read part two by Clicking here
Since they meet the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football, Saints coach Sean Payton decided to get a bonus practice in for his team this week.
While many NFL coaches push back the work week going into a Monday night game, Payton, who gave the Saints off on Monday after a 31-17 win over San Francisco before their usual off day Tuesday, had his team in for a film review and an on-field introduction to the Vikings on Wednesday.
The team will work Thursday through Saturday and have a short walkthrough on Sunday to wrap up their preparation for Monday's game.
PENALTIES CONCERN PAYTON: Payton was concerned Monday after his team committed 13 penalties against the 49ers, the most in a single game since he took over in 2006, and said that running his players after or even during practice might be a solution.
On Wednesday, he stopped practice and ordered the offense to take a lap after it jumped offside on a play. It was no surprise that captain and quarterback Drew Brees led the way around the field.
"We have to get the penalties corrected and get a handle on them, or else it's going to come back in a closer game to hurt us," said Payton, whose team ranks seventh in the NFL with 29 penalties in just four games.
The Saints had only 79 and 68 penalties, respectively, in 2006 and 2007.
When asked if it was a flashback to high school, Brees said yes and applauded Payton's decision to make them run during practice.
"When you make high school-esque mistakes, maybe you deserve high school-esque treatment."
BREES STAYS HOT: Brees may be the hottest quarterback in the NFL right now. Here's why: A year ago, the Saints were struggling at 0-4 and Brees had completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 929 yards with one TD, nine interceptions and a passer rating of 57.4.
This year, he's connected on 72.3 percent of his attempts for a league-best 1,343 yards, with eight TDs, four interceptions and a 106.9 passer rating in the Saints' 2-2 start.
HOME AT THE DOME: The Saints, who won home games against Tampa Bay on Sept. 7 and San Francisco on Sept. 28, have a chance to accomplish a rare feat on Monday night against the Vikings.
The Saints have won two in a row in the Superdome only three times during Sean Payton's two-plus seasons as coach and a win over the Vikings would stretch the streak to three for only the third time since the start of the 1999 season.
It happened in 2002, in Jim Haslett's third year as coach, and again in Payton's first season in 2006.
Overall, the Saints have had just one winning season at home since 1992 -- in 2003. They are 37-45 in regular-season play in the Superdome since the start of the 1997 season.
PAYTON TO APPEAL: Payton said he plans to appeal a $15,000 fine levied against him by the NFL for his criticism of the officiating after a 34-32 setback to the Denver Broncos on Sept. 21.
Payton described a non-call as "a hard pill for me to swallow on a critical play like that" after a Broncos linebacker wasn't called for lining up offside on a critical third-and-1 play late in the game.
"The good news is you can appeal," a grinning Payton said during his weekly news conference Monday. "The bad news is those that hear the appeal are the ones that issued the fine. But we'll go from there."
SAINTS NOMINEES: Two Saints were nominated this week for the awards voted on by fans via the Internet at www.nfl.com.
Defensive end Charles Grant, who had six tackles, two sacks and a pass defensed in the win over the San Francisco 49ers, was one of five players up for the GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Week Award.
Brees was one of three nominees for the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week Award after completing 23 of 35 passes for 363 yards and three TDs against the 49ers. He had a passer rating of 116.7.
JOEY'S BACK: The Saints re-signed quarterback Joey Harrington on Tuesday and waived reserve tight end Buck Ortega, who was returned to the practice squad after clearing waivers.