Saints have a true home-field advantage

The Saints didn’t lose at home in the regular season last year and need a win desperately.

When the 2014 schedule came out last spring, one of the first things that jumped out to many was not only that the Vikings would have their home opener against New England, that it would be followed up with a road game at New Orleans.

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.”


  • The Vikings are a 10½-point underdog Sunday. Last year, they were a double-digit underdog just once – a 13½-point underdog at Seattle.

  • The NFC North is the only division in the NFL that doesn’t have a team with a 2-0 record.

  • The release of Jerome Simpson Thursday came as a surprise to nobody. After yet another run-in with the law, which became public Thursday, it seemed as though it was only going to be a matter of time before his release happened. Whether it would have been Thursday or when his suspension ended Monday, when the word broke Thursday morning that he was facing yet another legal battle involving alcohol and marijuana, it seemed inevitable – especially given the week the Vikings were already having.

  • The Vikings have become the butt of jokes throughout social media for their awkward handling of the Adrian Peterson situation, but perhaps none as scathing as the comments from comedian Jon Stewart from “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. He not only blasted the Vikings for their reversal of the deactivation decision of Peterson, but went after the NFL and Roger Goodell as well. The venom was flowing.

    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.

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