LONDON — The New Orleans Saints are trying to snap a two-game skid when they serve as the home team in an International Series game against the Minnesota Vikings in London.
MINNESOTA (2-1) vs. NEW ORLEANS (1-2) at London, England
Sunday, 9:30 p.m. EDT, NFL Network
OPENING LINE: Vikings by 2 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Vikings 1-2-0; Saints 0-3-0.
SERIES RECORD: Vikings lead 23-13.
LAST MEETING: Saints beat Vikings 53-22 on Dec. 25, 2020, in New Orleans.
LAST WEEK: Vikings beat Lions 28-24; Saints lost to Panthers 22-14.
VIKINGS OFFENSE: OVERALL (18), RUSH (19), PASS (15), SCORING (T16).
VIKINGS DEFENSE: OVERALL (30), RUSH (24), PASS (29), SCORING (T9).
SAINTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (8), RUSH (16), PASS (8), SCORING (T22).
SAINTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (26), PASS (5), SCORING (14).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Vikings: even; Saints minus-6
VIKINGS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Justin Jefferson, who grew up just outside New Orleans, leads Minnesota in receiving with 18 catches for 246 yards and two TDs.
SAINTS PLAYER TO WATCH: Rookie WR Chris Olave, selected 11th overall out of Ohio State in last spring’s draft, leads the Saints with 17 catches for 268 yards after catching nine passes for 147 yards last week.
KEY MATCHUP: Dynamic Vikings running back Dalvin Cook against the Saints’ defensive front. Cook leads the Vikings with 203 yards rushing and possesses the versatility to be an effective receiver out of the backfield. The Saints are trying to shore up their run defense after giving up 145 yards or more on the ground in two of their first three games.
KEY INJURIES: Vikings: Cook (shoulder) is day to day, while outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (knee), fullback C.J. Ham (foot) and cornerback Andrew Booth, Jr. (quadriceps) all missed practice early this week. Saints receivers Michael Thomas (foot) and Jarvis Landry (ankle) left last Sunday’s game early and were not ready to return to practice mid-week. Left guard Andrus Peat is recovering from a concussion. QB Jameis Winston said he plans to start despite being hampered by back and ankle injuries.
SERIES NOTES: Minnesota leads the regular- season series 19-12, but New Orleans has won the past two regular-season meetings. These teams have met five times in the NFC playoffs, with the Vikings winning four. But the Saints’ lone postseason win against the Vikings sent New Orleans to its only Super Bowl at the end of the 2009 season.
STATS AND STUFF: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins passed for 260 yards and two TDs without an interception last week. … Cook rushed for 96 yards and scored his 40th career TD rushing in Week 3. Cook has averaged 117.3 scrimmage yards per game in three games against the Saints. … Jefferson has five or more catches in five of his past six games. He had six catches for 85 yards in his previous game against New Orleans. Jefferson’s 3,262 career yards receiving are the most of any NFL receiver since the 2020 season. … WR Adam Thielen had his 50th career TD catch in Week 3, becoming the fourth undrafted player since 1967 with 50 TD catches. Thielen caught eight passes for 97 yards and a TD in his most recent game against New Orleans. … LB Za’Darius Smith is tied atop the NFL with five tackles for loss. … Winston passed for 353 yards in Week 3, his 14th-career game with 350 or more yards passing. Winston passed for 400 yards in his only career start at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when he was with Tampa Bay in Oct. 13, 2019. … RB Mark Ingram scored his first TD rushing of the season last week and has 65 career TDs rushing, second-most among active players. … DE Cameron Jordan had his first sack of the season last week and has a tackle for loss in six straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. … The Saints are 2-0 in games played in London, both at Wembley Stadium. They defeated the Chargers in 2008 and the Dolphins in 2017, both with Drew Brees at quarterback and Sean Payton as coach.
FANTASY TIP: The versatile Alvin Kamara has yet to have a big game this season, but could be a matchup problem for a Vikings defense that ranks in the bottom third of the NFL in both the run and pass. Kamara also will be seeking redemption after his fumble was returned for a touchdown last week.