Very early, and very often. That's how Leslie Frazier's crew is going to have to get its hands on Drew Brees. Relentless pressure that actually arrives at the target is the only solution to the problem that the New Orleans Saints' offense presents for the Minnesota Vikings. After last year's donnybrook, there shouldn't be any squeamishness about a very aggressive approach to attacking the nerve center of the Saints' offense. If the Vikings' defense can accomplish this task with four defensive linemen, so much the better, but failing that, things are going to get dicey, for reasons that become painfully apparent with but a cursory glance at the respective depth charts.
It doesn't appear to set up well. Sure, paper is paper (OK...my #2 flat-screen monitor), but if Drew Brees is allowed any time at all to make his reads, it will be a very long evening for the Vikings' secondary, which is well known to be in a convalescent state as it opens this season. Assuming that WR Marques Colston's on-field time is closely rationed, I'll be looking for Reggie Bush and perhaps even Pierre Thomas in the slot, to put extra pressure on the Vikings' safeties. Robert Meachem would at worst be a #2 wide receiver on a lot of other NFL teams. I expect that Sean Payton will go with more than a few essentially "empty" 3 and 4 WR sets, some with Bush slotted out, unless or until the Vikings' pressure makes him stop.
The most effective way to make him stop, of course, is to deny Sean Payton those opportunities in the first place. As stated before, Leslie Frazier's defense must put Drew Brees on the ground repeatedly, and cause multiple turnovers. But that is only half of the solution, because even in a sub-par effort, with limited time-of-possession, Mr. Brees is still probably good for two TDs via the air.
Ever since the first rumors were circulated that Brett Favre might don a Minnesota Vikings jersey, indeed, ever since writers infinitely above my pay grade started trying to graft Brad Childress onto the Bill Walsh/Mike Holmgren/Andy Reid "coaching tree", football minds both great and small have wondered:
Whither the West Coast?
With the ever reliable Sidney Rice absent from a still dangerous receiving corps, the Vikings' vertical options are nonetheless somewhat limited. That said, with the absence this evening of ball-hawking nemesis Darren Sharper, the addition to the Vikings' receiving corps of Greg Camarillo, and the promotion of RB Albert Young, Brad Childress and Darrell Bevell have all of the requisite weapons to end the song-and-dance, by employing a bona fide West Coast (read: ball-control-passing) offense, to render Drew Brees a spectator for much of tonight's contest.
..."les bon temps" will continue to "rouler".