The New Orleans Saints get ready to square off with the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium tonight to open the 2017 NFL season, and with a new year comes new changes for a team looking to capitalize on talent and make a playoff run.
Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to know about the season ahead for the Saints, including a look at changes to the offense, key additions and impact players on both sides of the ball and more:
Your A (as in Adrian Peterson) to Z (as in Zach Strief) guide to the 2017 Saints season
Saints columnist Rod Walker takes a somewhat alphabetical look at the A,B,C’s of this year’s New Orleans Saints team. This is a good, basic refresher for people both new and familiar to the team.
The Saints believe in evolution: How weekly tweaks to the offense lead to success
How do the Saints stay among the league’s most-productive offenses? The team constantly analyzes film and makes changes to their schemes, evolving to a new and better team from week-to-week.
The Advocate’s Saints reporter took a deep dive into the 2016 game film to figure out how Drew Brees, Sean Payton and the rest of the offense does it.
The faces have changed, but the results haven’t. Is this the year the Saints get over the 7-9 hump?
The Saints are, admittedly, in a results-driven business. The last few years the team has consistently finished 7-9, but this year looks to be a year of change.
See how the team hopes new additions to the roster will help get over the 7-9 hump.
Breaking down the defense: After so many investments, is this the year it all pays off?
While Drew Brees has become a model of excellence for the Saints offense, the team has struggled to find the same sort of dynamic, and dependable, playmaker on the defensive side of the ball since their Super Bowl win in 2009.
But with guys like vets like Cam Jordan, Kenny Vaccaro and A.J. Klein, young talent like Sheldon Rankins, and Vonn Bell and top draft picks from this year’s draft in Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams, could this be the year the Saints’ stockpile of assets finally amounts to success?
Can an impressive running back trio match the Saints’ dominance through the air?
Mark Ingram has some company in the Saints backfield now.
The biggest off-season acquisition for the team included the signing of ex-Vikings star Adrian Peterson. Coupled with the selection of Alvin Kamara in the NFL Draft, the Saints have a potent trio that could make the team just as deadly on the ground as it is through the air.
The Saints continue their search for a franchise cornerback
With only two players enshrined in the Saints Hall of Fame as cornerbacks, the team has spent the better part of their half-century trying to find a franchise player for the position.
Here’s a look at why the role is so hard to fill, who the Saints have placed there in the past and who’s cast into the role in the present.
How better cornerback play could help the Saints pressure packages be more effective
One reason for the Saints’ desire to find good cornerbacks? The team knows good players in that role can help immensely with pressuring the opposing team’s offense.
How’s how top-flight play from Marshon Lattimore and the rest of the Saints’ corners can help bolster Dennis Allen’s defense.
Five for 2017: The top five storylines for the Saints this season
Here’s an easy and useful read highlighting the five biggest questions and storylines to follow this year -- from the team staying healthy to if the team can avoid another losing season.
Read more at TheAdvocate.com