7 p.m. • TV, radio: Ch. 9 and 100.3-FM
About the Vikings: Last year’s preseason opener in Denver saw just four snaps for defensive starters and nine snaps for the starting offense. Expect about the same in New Orleans, according to coach Mike Zimmer: “It won’t be a whole lot, but what I want them to do is be efficient.” Tackles Brian O’Neill (arm) and Aviante Collins (leg) and defensive tackles Linval Joseph (shoulder) and Shamar Stephen (undisclosed) have been limited or held out of practices and may not play.
Ready or not, rookie tackle Oli Udoh should get plenty of snaps. Long looks also should be had by backup quarterback Sean Mannion and a host of young receivers, including Brandon Zylstra, Jordan Taylor and Olabisi Johnson, who are vying for roster spots.
Rookie defensive backs, such as cornerback Kris Boyd and safety Marcus Epps, also have much to prove after an underwhelming camp so far. Kicker Dan Bailey and an uneven field goal operation remain under the spotlight.
About the Saints: A host of former Vikings, including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, running back Latavius Murray and return specialist Marcus Sherels, are now in New Orleans. Perhaps Bridgewater will start against his former team. Saints head coach Sean Payton did not tip his hand this week, but Drew Brees has not played in a preseason opener since 2016.
Former Vikings center/guard Nick Easton is also competing for a job with the Saints. Rookie center Erik McCoy, a second-round pick, has reportedly taken most of the first-team reps.
This is the Saints’ first game under the new interference replay rules since its NFC Championship Game loss to the Rams, aided by a no call on a clear pass interference. Payton’s voice, as a member of the NFL’s Competition Committee, led the push for the rule change this offseason. Zimmer has said he’ll exhaust his challenge flags in the preseason to test how officials call interference.