NEW ORLEANS -- The Saints' mission to Minnesota won't come easy.
First, the boys in back and gold will have to play the Vikings in Minneapolis, and then another team before they can return to Minnesota for the Championship. And the Vikings will be playing with a chip on their shoulder Sunday.
The Vikings hold a 2-1 playoff edge over the Saints, losing the 2009 NFC championship game 31-28 in overtime in the last meeting.
This season has come as a surprise to many, with a rocky 0-2 start and play makers emerging from the rookie class.
Former New Orleans Saint Roman Harper, who returned to the Superdome last Sunday when the Saints beat the Panthers in the Wild Card playoff game, said this year's Saints remind him more of the '06 team than the '09 team that took home the Championship.
"We were just a couple snaps away from getting to the Super Bowl and people always forget that, and give '09 all the credit, but the foundation was started in '06," said Harper.
He describes the '06 team as gritty.
"In a lot of ways it's similar to this year's team, we weren't winning the traditional way the Saints win. It wasn't pretty, but we got it done."
The 2017 roster may be stacked with talent, and making NFL history on a weekly basis seems to have become the new culture of the Saints, but Harper said the 2009 team was better equipped to win the Super Bowl.
"We were rock stars. I mean we had Reggie Bush, a Heisman winner, Drew Brees was becoming one of the top quarterbacks, Jeremy Shockey, Darren Sharper, Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Lance Moore was the lady killer, Pierre Thomas was like the black french man, " laughed Harper. "It was crazy, all the people, the names, and everywhere we went we were like a rock stars. We were like the Beatles, but after the Beatles."
With all eyes facing north, Harper's advice is to not overthink while in play. He will travel to Minnesota on Sunday to root for the team that made him a legend.