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Vikings looking to get a move on

October 06, 2008|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

On paper, the Minnesota Vikings are an exciting, dynamic football team. On the field, well, let's just say something's lost in the translation.

With its offense sputtering and its season slipping away, 1-3 Minnesota will try to right its ship tonight in New Orleans.

Good news for the Vikings: It should be a bit easier to move the ball for the next couple weeks. The Saints' defense is ranked 27th, and next week's opponent, Detroit, is ranked last.

That's a welcome change for a Minnesota team that's tied for the fifth-most fumbles with seven, and has a red-zone offense that's ranked last with two touchdowns in nine chances. The team's top weapon is running back Adrian Peterson, last season's offensive rookie of the year, who's ranked second in rushing to Atlanta's Michael Turner.

Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte isn't putting a lot of stock in the notion that his team will have an easier time of things just because the Saints' defense has struggled lately.

"You can say what you want about their defense," Frerotte said. "But it really comes down to us."

Chances are, the Vikings are going to have to score early and often to keep pace with the 2-2 Saints, who entered Week 5 with the league's top passing offense. Quarterback Drew Brees completed 72.3% of his passes for 1,343 yards through the first four weeks, both NFL bests.

And, lately, Brees has kept that passing offense cruising without two of his favorite targets. Against San Francisco in Week 4, the Saints were missing receiver Marques Colston (thumb) and tight end Jeremy Shockey (groin). Both players are out again for tonight's game.

Keeping the passing game going will be key for the Saints tonight, because the Vikings have been able to stop the run this season.

At least they're doing something right.

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

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