Dirtiest of the dozen: Saints carve up uninspired Vikings

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 19, 2011 - 12:58 AM

The Saints had no trouble at all demolishing the listless Vikings, who were even worse than their usual bad selves.

At some point during the third quarter Sunday, as Saints quarterback Drew Brees continued carving up the Vikings defense like it was a tender holiday ham, it seemed appropriate to gauge the public reaction on Twitter.

The exercise: describe New Orleans' effortless massacre of the Vikings in one word.

The flood of responses proved revealing.

Pitiful. Sickening. Bloodbath.

That's about right to describe a 42-20 loss in which the Vikings had nearly as many punts (seven) as they had first downs (12).

Comical. Ridiculous. Predictable.

Those adjectives work, too. Especially on an afternoon where Brees threw for 412 yards, gunning five touchdown passes to four different receivers without even playing the final 12 minutes.

Lethargic. Lousy. Typical.

The list could go on forever.

Thankfully, the season won't.

Now, only two games remain for the 2-12 Vikings, who may have sunk to rock bottom Sunday, delivering another stinker that left only a small collection of numb fans in the Mall of America Field stands to witness the fourth quarter.

The in-house description of the Vikings' third blowout loss this season?

"It's a terrible feeling," Jared Allen said. "I know everybody is disgusted right now."

Added Adrian Peterson, who returned after a three-week absence to total 60 rushing yards on 10 carries: "It was a lot of missed tackles defensively, a lot of missed opportunities offensively. There was effort out there. But it wasn't good enough."

And if you're not yet convinced New Orleans completely dominated, digest the following statistics, which should provide ample evidence of just how far away these Vikings are from NFL relevance.

The Vikings ran 34 plays in the first three quarters. Only three went for more than 10 yards.

The Saints owned a 573-207 advantage in total yardage and a 36-12 cushion in first downs and punted only once.

They also averaged 7.8 yards per play on the 10 possessions Brees engineered.

"Just Drew being Drew out there," Saints receiver Lance Moore said. "Everybody else only gets to see it once a week. But we get to see it every day."

The Saints' first-half touchdown passes proved their balance and explosiveness. First came a 5-yard dart to Moore, who fought past a jam by Benny Sapp to run a textbook slant route.

Not long after that, New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham simply outjumped and outmuscled safety Jamarca Sanford near the right sideline for a 1-yard TD grab.

Late in the half, Brees found running back Darren Sproles over the middle as the pint-sized speedster raced past linebacker Chad Greenway as if he were cone on an obstacle course.

"When Drew's in a zone, the man's in a zone," Vikings defensive tackle Remi Ayodele said. "It's like nobody can even get to him. We got after him a few times. But it's like he feels the pressure at the last second. That little step up does so much for him and his receivers are always ready. They just have a rhythm. All they do is throw that ball to each other."

At times, it seemed as if Brees was spinning a wheel to determine who his next target would be.

And just to remove all doubt that this was anything but a lousy, ridiculous, pitiful performance by the Vikings, New Orleans scored on its first three possessions after halftime to prove their point.

The Saints' final touchdown drive was an inescapable sleeper hold -- 19 plays, 87 yards over 10 minutes, 36 seconds. And when it culminated with a 1-yard run by Pierre Thomas, New Orleans had run 27 second-half plays for 204 yards to the Vikings' 10 plays for 8 yards.

Even when the Vikings scored early on, it was only because they didn't have more time to get in their own way. Their two first-half field goal drives, set up by fumble recoveries by Mistral Raymond and Everson Griffen, netted zero and minus-10 yards.

Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder lamented those missed opportunities.

The fans, meanwhile, occasionally pelted Ponder with boos, dissatisfied in an effort that saw the 23-year-old quarterback complete only 14 of 31 passes for 120 yards.

Asked afterward if Ponder still seemed like the long-term answer at quarterback, coach Leslie Frazier hesitated.

"He struggled today," Frazier said. "As I mentioned, we have two games left, so I want to continue to watch him play and understand that we still have to get some pieces around him."

The Saints, 11-3 and headed for a division championship, have no such worries. They are a well-oiled machine that exposed the Vikings for what they truly are right now.

Deficient. Overmatched. Uninspired.

Dan Wiederer • dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • WEEK 15: NEW ORLEANS 42, VIKINGS 20

    Up next: Noon Saturday at Washington • FedEx Field • TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM)

    YARDS, YARDS AND MORE YARDS

    The Saints piled up the second-most yards ever given up by a Vikings team Sunday, and set a record for first downs and first downs passing by a Vikings opponent. A quick look at their historic day:

    Total yards: 573 (Vikings gave up 576 to Baltimore on Dec. 16, 1962.)

    Passing yards: 412: (Opponent record is 486 by Tampa Bay on Dec. 7, 1980.)

    First downs: 36 (Previous opponent record was 33 by Philadelphia on Nov. 11, 2001.)

    First downs passing: 23 (Previous opponent record was 22, three times.)

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Los Angeles 4 Top 7th Inning
Pittsburgh 8
San Francisco 3 Top 7th Inning
Philadelphia 5
Texas 0 Bottom 8th Inning
NY Yankees 0
Boston 0 Top 8th Inning
Toronto 6
Miami 6 Top 8th Inning
Atlanta 2
San Diego 0 Bottom 5th Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
Cincinnati 1 Bottom 5th Inning
Milwaukee 2
Cleveland 3 Top 5th Inning
Minnesota 1
Kansas City 1 Top 5th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Tampa Bay 1 Top 5th Inning
St. Louis 1
Washington 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Colorado 1
Detroit - R. Porcello 8:40 PM
Arizona - C. Anderson
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
NY Mets - J. deGrom 9:10 PM
Seattle - E. Ramirez
Calgary 7/24/14 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Tulsa 61 4th Qtr 10:00
San Antonio 66
Atlanta 66 3rd Qtr 0:23
Minnesota 75
Indiana 41 4th Qtr 10:00
Chicago 44
Phoenix 9:00 PM
Seattle
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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