Sunday: 12:05 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Superdome (Ch. 9, 100.3-FM, 1130-AM)
ABOUT THE SAINTS
• The Saints (13-3) jumped to a 35-3 lead by halftime and dismantled the Panthers in a 42-10 victory during the regular-season finale. Quarterback Drew Brees threw touchdown passes to three different Saints players.
• Receiver Michael Thomas is finishing a historic season. He had an NFL-record 149 catches, surpassing Marvin Harrison’s 143 catches from 2002, to go with a league-leading 1,725 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
• Running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray – the former Viking – combined for 1,434 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Both backs are also often targeted by Brees, adding 768 receiving yards this season.
• Defensive end Cameron Jordan, with 15.5 sacks and 15 tackles for losses, leads a Saints defense that is particularly good against the run and on third downs.
PLAYER SPEAK | QB Drew Brees
• The future Hall of Famer is coming off a career-high 116.3 quarterback rating in his 19th season at age 40. He has thrown 27 touchdown passes despite missing five starts because of right thumb surgery.
• Helping prolong Brees’ career is the fact he was the NFL’s least-pressured (24.9%) and least-sacked (12) quarterback this season, according to Pro Football Focus. But he has lost to the Vikings in two of the past three meetings, including the “Minneapolis Miracle” game in the 2017 NFC divisional round.
• Vikings coach Mike Zimmer: “He reads things so quickly. He sees it and gets the ball to the quick plays.”
• Brees to New Orleans reporters: “As far as this being a revenge game, I don’t look at it like that at all. These are two totally different seasons. That was two years ago.”
COACH SPEAK | Sean Payton
• Sean Payton, the NFL’s second-longest tenured head coach in his 14th season, has a 131-77 record in the regular season and 8-6 in the playoffs with one Super Bowl championship.
• Only the Ravens and 49ers scored more than the Saints’ 28.6 points per game.
• On his team’s attitude after back-to-back dramatic playoff exits: “When you have a tough loss like that, you’re always wondering how your team is going to respond. Last year, we had another challenging game at home here. I feel like we’re battle tested a little bit that way, and really came back strong again.”
• On Teddy Bridgewater’s 5-0 run as Saints starter: “He’s a tremendous leader. He’s adored by the team.He’s a great teammate. There’s just a way about him that I think commands respect, but also a looseness about him.”