Saints Won’t Have All Pro WR, Starting QB Doubtful

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) runs after a pass reception against Minnesota Vikings strong safety Andrew Sendejo (34) during the first quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans is trying to get back to .500 by overcoming Minnesota on Sunday morning. Unfortunately for the Saints, they’ll need to do so without Michael Thomas, who was an All Pro in 2018 and 2019. Plus, Jameis Winston – their QB1 – is doubtful.

Take a look at the info from Tom Pelissero:

Andy Dalton has been in the NFL since 2011 (PFR offers plenty of info about his career). For a while, he was the starter in Cincinnati. More recently, he has been a veteran option for the Cowboys and Bears. It’s possible that he won’t be as turnover prone as Winston, but one still wonders if Dalton will be an upgrade.

So far in 2022, Thomas has 16 catches for 171 yards and 3 TDs. Previously, has has put up elite receiving numbers for New Orleans. He is a trusted receiver who’ll be difficult to replace.

Of course, the Saints offense does have some legit talent outside of their well-known WR. Michael Thomas won’t be out there for the Saints, but they still have Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave, and Jarvis Landry. Up front, their offensive line features Erik McCoy and Ryan Ramczyk.

In other words, Ed Donatell’s group will be need to be sharp.

Unfortunately, the Vikings are dealing with their own injuries. Za’Darius Smith hasn’t practiced this week due to a knee injury. Losing the star edge rusher would make generating pressure more challenging. The task would fall to D.J. Wonnum and Patrick Jones II to fill-in. We might also see UDFA Luiji Vilain get a few opportunities if Smith can’t go.

Otherwise, it looks like Minnesota might again be without rookie corner Andrew Booth Jr. Dalvin Cook, C.J. Ham, Eric Kendricks, and Harrison Smith were all full participants on Thursday.

Overcoming the Saints on Sunday would mean the Vikings climb to 3-1, a rock-solid record that puts them on a much better path than recent seasons. Indeed, Minnesota would have the luxury of building off a strong start rather than needing to overcome a poor start.

The game is scheduled to begin at 8:30 CT.

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