When New Orleans hosts Minnesota on Sunday in the NFC championship game, you've likely read as much about the Saints as you possibly can.

But what do you know about the Vikings?

That's where A View From the Other Side comes in. During the Saints season, will ask five questions to at least one beat writer covering the Saints' opponent that week.

Today we talk with Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He is in his second season covering the Vikings. In 10 years at the Star Tribune, he also has covered the NBA, NHL and college football. Scoggins grew up in Tennessee and worked at newspapers in Houston, Connecticut, North Carolina and Chicago before joining the Star Tribune.

You can read his work here. Adrian Peterson hasn't had a 100-yard game since Nov. 15 against Detroit. The offense obviously goes through Brett Favre but how important will it be for Minnesota to get Peterson going this week?

Chip Scoggins: The Vikings have definitely become a pass-first offense with Brett Favre but they still want to be balanced. That's particularly important this week because they want to keep the Saints offense on the sidelines as much as possible. Even if Peterson doesn't rush for 100 yards, they need to establish their running game and be able to use it to chew up some clock. The Vikings were 8-0 at home during the regular season and 4-4 on the road. In fact, Minnesota lost its last three away games of the regular season. What has been the major difference between home and away for this Vikings team?

Scoggins: The Vikings looked like a completely different team this season at home versus the road. Their pass rush was better in the Metrodome, which took some of the pressure off their secondary. The offensive line also played better at home, which allowed them to be more effective with the pass and run. That is the biggest unknown for the Vikings this week. Can they find a way to play well on the road? Several Cardinals players said the environment in the Superdome was the loudest, most energetic environment they had played in. But Minnesota plays in a Dome, too. In talking with the players this week, is there any sense that the Dome will play a factor?

Scoggins: Crowd noise will definitely be a factor but the Vikings know what to expect. They got a taste of it in the Monday Night game last season and they see its effects on opposing teams at the Dome. The team pipes in noise at practice even for home games because the crowd noise affects the defense's ability to communicate the calls and checks so they know what is in store for them Sunday. Jared Allen is a Pro Bowl defensive end who has 14.5 sacks in the regular season. But against the Cowboys, it was Ray Edwards who spent the afternoon in the backfield with three sacks. Why have they been so successful?

Scoggins: Everyone knows about Jared Allen so he draws consistent double teams. So does All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams. That leaves Ray Edwards with one-on-one matchups a lot of time and he's done a good job this season of winning those battles. One thing to watch is Edwards suffered a sprained right knee Sunday so he might not be as effective. I will be surprised if the Saints block Allen with only one guy. He's too explosive and relentless with his pass rush to leave the left tackle alone consistently. Now to the question that everyone is wondering - what has allowed Brett Favre to be so successful with the Vikings when he wasn't with the Jets? And if he loses Sunday, would bringing him back be considered a failure?

Scoggins: Three things on Favre: He is healthy, he's surrounded by a ton of talent and he's back in an offense he knows extremely well. Remember, Favre finished last season with a pretty significant arm injury. He had surgery to fix that last summer so that has not been an issue. Look at the players around him Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe, Bernard Berrian, Chester Taylor. Favre knows the West Coast offense as well as anyone so he's comfortable and he's made a group of talented players even better because they have so much confidence in him. I wouldn't call the season a failure if they lose because Favre still had a major impact on this organization and it fans.

Read or Share this story: