Zimmer hasn't decided on Bradford's status against the Saints

U.S. Sen John Kennedy R-La. has bet a king cake against purple ice cream from Sen. Amy Klobuchar D-Minn. for the National Football League divisional playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings had a bye allowing them two weeks to prepare for Sunday's division round game that kicks off at 3:40.

The Saints returned home six days later and got a similar stiff arm from the New England Patriots in a 36-20 loss. Case Keenum and company have been excellent at protecting the football this season, and it is a significant factor in the Vikings' success.

"I would expect that they've kind of grown into their own identity now", Saints linebacker Manti Te'o said. "We worked hard all season long to get this playoff game at home and we intend to take advantage of it". It's been a stirring ride worthy of the late John Facenda and the NFL Films orchestra providing the soundtrack. The Saints' defense also started to find its way. The goals couldn't be more defined or profound, football-wise or geography-wise.

Again, back in September the last time these two teams met, such lofty aspirations seemed like a foolish wish. Carolina's comeback stalled when Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan beat right tackle Daryl Williams with a quick swim move, bull rushed running back Christian McCaffery and forced Cam Newton into an intentional grounding - forcing third-and-23 with 19 seconds left.

Minnesota cornerback Xavier Rhodes has said Smith should be the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year, which would also be fine with Smith. He only had one game this season where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns.

Minnesota is a formidable foe, possessing the NFL's top-ranked defense.

"I have no doubts the Saints will beat the Vikings this Sunday and continue their path to the Super Bowl", said Kennedy. "I am so confident that we will win, I bet Senator Klobuchar a king cake".

Donald Trump should apologize for remarks: African states
He also reportedly suggested that the U.S. should bring in more people from countries like Norway . Another Republican, Representative Mia Love of Utah, is a child of Haitian immigrants.

- Quarterback Nick Foles wasn't given much of a chance to carry the weight of the Eagles' playoff hopes as the replacement for Carson Wentz.

News of Bradford's activation began to heat up on Friday when the Boston Globe's Ben Volin cited a league source that Minnesota planned to dress the quarterback for Sunday's game. Since 2013, quarterbacks making their first career playoff starts have gone 3-12, with two of those wins coming in games where one first-time quarterback played another first-time quarterback, meaning there needed to be a victor. This is Keenum's first playoff start. RB ALVIN KAMARA had rush TD last week.

The Vikings may opt to let Keenum go elsewhere, as they hand the offense back to Teddy Bridgewater or Sam Bradford.

Zimmer said Bradford is working his way back in with the other quarterbacks but 'has a ways to go still'.

Here are three X-factors for the Vikings against the Saints. The Saints can win in so many ways while the Vikings still appear as a team that can make the minimum mistakes if they want to advance. And if you're going to try the wild rice that Minnesota is so proud of, you should bring along some Red Beans to go with it.

Is the Saints' season about to end, or will the circle remain unbroken?

For Hodges, who was traded to San Francisco in the middle of the 2015 season, the departure from Minnesota hurt for a while.

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