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Vikings Corner: Saints, '98 Vikes share similarities

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Who dat?

The battle cry for New Orleans.

Who dat think dey gonna beat dem Saints?

This is where you chime in with Noooboody. Feel free to extend it as long as you like.

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I think the longer you hold it, shows just how serious you are, that really, nobody is gonna beat them Saints.

It's a surreal time on the other end of the Mississippi. With Mardi Gras planning usually the focal point this time of year, nowadays it's a trip to Miami.

It's a scene that's all too familiar, played out many years before, right in front of our own eyes.

The Mississippi north-siders strolled through the season on their way to the Super Bowl in Miami. Except a team no one ever heard of cut the trip short.

The Atlanta Falcons were a paltry 14-2 when they sank the Vikings ship. Rabid fans decked in purple were shocked, and the weeping blondes took center stage.

Who dat?

Who dat indeed, not to be confused with who dey, of course. As that magical team marched towards the championship game against Denver, no one stopped to think that you actually have to play the games.

New Orleans fans caught up in the euphoria, point to a perfect 13-0 record when questioned about their team. Forget about the past two weeks they say, but it was a missed chip shot which handed them the win in Washington last week and they barely hung on Sunday in Atlanta, even though the Falcons played without their starting quarterback or running back.

The Saints won't finish the season undefeated, they will lose. Now, whether that's in the regular season or playoff remains to be seen. They have a talented team, just not the experience to make the party last.

The New England Patriots had an addiction to winning throughout the decade; even they couldn't pull it off.

The Minnesota Vikings are a young (hey Favre's just a kid out there isn't he) talented team as well. The fiasco in Arizona wasn't necessary for Super Bowl success, but it helps.

"There will be people that say you need games like that," said Favre. "I don't know if I believe that. I just hope in the end that has no bearing on our outcome one way or the other."

In the weeks leading up to the debacle in the desert, the team had built its' swagger which completely unraveled, both on and off the field.

Disappointment causes reflection, and unbridled success breeds complacency.

"I think it's a step in the maturation process of our football team," said Brad Childress. "We have lost together and we are learning how to win together...I really get more concerned with our guys being right-minded. When they are, I feel like we can play with anyone of the 32 teams in the National Football League. From the standpoint of a couple of weeks ago, we didn't do well at that; we get a chance to do it again."

Minnesota's march to Miami isn't paved in purple like it was in 1998, but that team never really understand who dat.

If the Saints expect to make it to the big show they'll need to figure that out too.

T.J. Melcher can be heard on KBUN AM-1450.

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