Equally unsettling for Vikings fans was that New England came to Minnesota having lost its season opener. The stats are always out there about teams that start 0-2 have a harder time making the playoffs. The Patriots found themselves in a must-win situation and they came into the game with that mindset.
Just as disturbing is the fact that the Saints are 0-2, having lost a pair of road games by three and two points in which they were leading in the closing seconds of regulation. As they return to the Superdome for their home opener, there is the smell of desperation in the air.
But there isn’t a sense of panic. For the last several years, the Saints have been a different team at the Superdome and away from home. Last season, they went 11-5 – 8-0 at home and 3-5 on the road. Beating the Saints in their house is a tall order that most teams aren’t up for.
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn is no stranger to life under the dome in the shadow of the French Quarter. He spent five years with the Carolina Panthers and knows firsthand how different the Saints can be when playing in front of their home fans. With the Saints desperate for a win, he knows the Superdome is going to be jumping come Sunday.
“I’ve played in that place a lot, coming from Carolina,” Munnerlyn said. “The Superdome is going to be rocking. It’s going to be loud and they’re going to be desperate for a win. You know they’re going throw everything they’ve got at us. We’ve just got to execute the game plan and move on from this situation (with Adrian Peterson) and win the game.”
To beat New Orleans, the Vikings are going to have to play a near-perfect game. Many others have tried. Many others have failed and the 12th man can’t be ignored. Much like the Metrodome noise gave the Vikings an advantage, the Saints fans are going to be doing what they can to help the team have every edge possible and the Vikings will have to silence them to take that advantage away … which won’t be easy.
Asked if the Superdome provides the Saints with a similar advantage the Vikings enjoyed under their Teflon, defensive end Brian Robison was quick to acknowledge the similarity.
“Absolutely,” Robison said. “Their fans do a great job of making that place one of the loudest (stadiums) in the league. When you go in there, you’ve got to weather the storm and just calm down. If we’re able to do that and we execute well, we’ll be in the thick of it at the end.”
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.