NEW ORLEANS ― Roman Harper nudged ever so slightly to the edge of the line before exploding into the backfield on a blitz.
Brett Favre, the harried Vikings quarterback, quickly got rid of the ball, but Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma intercepted it.
The late second quarter blitz was New Orleans’ first exotic defensive play call of the game. While it wouldn’t be the last, the Saints everyone remembers pounding Favre in the NFC championship game was nowhere to be seen.
It didn’t need to be.
The Saints held the Vikings to 253 total yards and allowed only one touchdown as they held on for a 14-9 win in both teams’ season opener.
“I just felt like as the game evolved and progressed, we didn’t feel like we needed to get exotic," Saints linebacker Scott Shanle said. “We were playing them very well straight up. There was no need on our part to go beyond what we do normally.”
The second half was impressive. New Orleans held Minnesota to 65 total yards, two first downs and gave up only 1 of 6 third-down conversions.
“No matter how vanilla it may seem, it was the best call for what they were doing that put us in the best situation to make plays,” cornerback Jabari Greer said.
Favre finished the night 15 of 27 for 171 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His final rating was 71.7.
New Orleans forced seven punts by Minnesota and three three-and-outs in the second half.