When: 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
TV, radio: NFL Network, Ch. 5, 100.3-FM
Line: Vikings by 3
THREE STORY LINES
Vikings try to remain undefeated in London
In 2013, the Vikings came to London with an 0-3 record before beating the Steelers at Wembley Stadium. In 2017, their victory over the Browns at Twickenham Stadium came in the middle of an eight-game win streak. Sunday, they'll try to move to 3-0 in London and get to 3-1 for the season against the Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings arrived in London on Friday, with one practice and one walk-through in England before Sunday's game; the Saints, who are technically the home team, spent the week in London after playing in Charlotte last week.
Winston's injuries mean Dalton will start for Saints
Andy Dalton beat the Vikings in a spot start for the Cowboys in 2020 with Dak Prescott injured. He started for the Bears in the final game of Mike Zimmer's tenure in January. He'll start in place of Jameis Winston for the Saints on Sunday, with Winston out for the game because of the back injuries he has dealt with this season. He threw for 353 yards in the Saints' loss to the Panthers last week, but didn't practice for New Orleans all week in London, putting Dalton in line to face the Vikings for the third straight year with three different teams.
Cook "excited about the opportunity" to play
After leaving last Sunday with a shoulder subluxation, running back Dalvin Cook did not have an injury designation on the Vikings' final injury report on Friday. He'll play for the first time in London after missing the Vikings' 2017 game with a torn ACL, and he could be in line for a big day against the Saints' run defense. "He had a good practice today," coach Kevin O'Connell said Friday. "So Dalvin's excited about the opportunity this weekend."
TWO KEY MATCHUPS
Vikings WR Justin Jefferson vs. Saints CB Marshon Lattimore
Jefferson got physical treatment from Darius Slay in Week 2 and Jeff Okudah in Week 3, in two games where opponents kept the Vikings star receiver in check. Marshon Lattimore could shadow Jefferson on Sunday, after facing Adam Thielen in a number of physical matchups over the years. Jefferson had nine catches for a career-high 184 yards in the Vikings' season-opening win over the Packers; he's got just nine catches for 62 yards in the two games since then. The Vikings will try to get him going again on Sunday as the Saints likely counter with Lattimore.
Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter vs. Saints T Ryan Ramczyk
The Vikings might try to find matchups that keep Hunter away from Ramczyk; they've put him on the left side of their formation on 34.7% of their defensive snaps in the past two weeks, according to Pro Football Focus, and their history of moving Hunter around against the Saints dates back to the 2019 wild-card playoff game where they lined him up inside for part of the game. But when he does rush from his normal right end spot, his matchup with Ramczyk will feature two of the game's best.
ONE STAT THAT MATTERS
-6: The Saints' turnover margin through their first three games, the worst in the NFL. New Orleans has given the ball away a league-high nine times, while producing just three takeaways.
THE VIKINGS WILL WIN IF …
They can get more pressure on Dalton than they put on Jalen Hurts and Jared Goff the past two weeks, while their offense can move the ball effectively against a Saints defense that's especially struggled to stop the run in the first three weeks of the season. If the Vikings can get off to a quicker start than they did against the Lions last week and force the Saints to lean heavily on Dalton to beat them, they should be in good shape to get to 3-1.
THE SAINTS WILL WIN IF …
Dalton is as efficient as he was against the Vikings with the Cowboys in 2020, and the quarterback can take advantage of the matchups the Saints can create with Chris Olave against the Vikings' secondary. They'll need to be creative with Michael Thomas out on Sunday, and will have to see how much they can get out of Alvin Kamara, who was limited this week with a rib injury. On defense, the Saints will need Lattimore to keep Jefferson in check, and put enough pressure on Kirk Cousins to keep the Vikings from stringing together efficient drives early in the game.
The Vikings have a more stable offense than the Saints, and are significantly healthier than New Orleans through the first three weeks of the season. Andy Dalton could give the Saints more stability than Jameis Winston often provides at quarterback, but with Michael Thomas out and Alvin Kamara dealing with injuries, the Vikings should be able to win this one comfortably if their offense is consistent early. Vikings 24, Saints 14