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Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 12:40 a.m.


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Which will win -- youth, experience?

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 14, 2018 at 2:28 a.m.


FILE - At left, in a Dec. 23, 2017, file photo, Minnesota Vikings' Case Keenum throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, in Green Bay, Wis. At right, in a Dec. 24, 2017, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) drops back to pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in New Orleans. The Saints and Vikiungs plays in a divisional playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 14 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Drew Brees will lead the New Orleans offense onto the field at Minnesota and commence the 13th postseason game of his stellar career, already armed with seven such victories and one Super Bowl ring for the Saints.

"I prepare for every game as if it's that magnitude," Brees said.

"When you're in games of that magnitude, it's as if you've been there and done it many times before, even if it was just in your mind."

For Case Keenum, it's truly all in his mind.

His first start in the NFL playoffs will come when the Vikings kick off their divisional round game today.

"I'm going to play like I know how to play. I don't have to be anybody but myself. Not more conservative or less conservative. Either way, I'm going to be me," said Keenum, whose successful takeover for the injured Sam Bradford helped lead the Vikings (13-3) to their best record in 19 years. "That's all I have to be. I've got a great squad in this room."

Solely measuring quarterback experience and accomplishment, the Saints have a clear advantage over the Vikings in this divisional round game to help determine the matchup in the NFC championship game. Keenum, though, has been overcoming the odds all season, let alone his career.

"I always root for guys like that. Kind of the undersized guy that is coming out and nobody wants to give him any credit and always plays with a chip on his shoulder," Brees said.

Though he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round in 2001 out of Purdue, with Keenum going undrafted out of Houston and needing the Texans practice squad to get his career going in 2012, Brees can relate. He's shorter than the NFL standard for their position, too. Oh, and they're both from Texas.

Brees added another highlight last week, with 376 passing yards to help the Saints (12-5) advance with a 31-26 victory over Carolina while the Vikings had a bye.

"Just a guy that I really admire in how he moves the ball down the field and how he operates, what kind of leader he is," Keenum said.

"I read his book a long time ago. I think he's someone to learn from. I try to watch all of the really good quarterbacks in the offseason and take little things to try to work on my game."

The Saints will be without starting left guard Andrus Peat, a versatile former first-round draft choice who also filled in for Terron Armstead at left tackle this season when he was injured. Peat broke his fibula against the Panthers.

Senio Kelemete, who has filled in at both guard spots and right tackle this season, is slated to start for Peat. Armstead, meanwhile, said he's never been close to 100 percent healthy this season.

"But it doesn't matter," Armstead said. "I'm willing and able to put my body on the line for an opportunity to play again next week."

Saints at Vikings

3:40 p.m., Fox

LINE — Vikings by 5½ SERIES — Vikings lead 21-11; Vikings beat Saints 29-19, Sept. 11, 2017


(RK) SAINTS VS. VIKINGS (RK) (5) 129.4 RUSH 122.3 (7) (5) 261.8 PASS 234.6 (11) (2) 391.2 YARDS 356.9 (11) (4) 28.0 POINTS 23.9 (10)


(RK) SAINTS VS. VIKINGS (RK) (16) 111.7 RUSH 83.6 (2) (15) 224.8 PASS 192.4 (2) (17) 336.5 YARDS 276.0 (1) (10) 20.4 POINTS 15.8 (1) KEY MATCHUP RB Alvin Kamara vs. Vikings’ defense: When the Vikings beat the Saints 29-19 in the opening week of the season, the Saints still had Adrian Peterson at RB and had yet to unleash Kamara. He carried the ball 7 times for 18 yards and caught 4 passes for 20 yards. Since then, Peterson was traded and Kamara became one of the most explosive players in the league. What will the topranked Vikings’ defense do with him?

Sports on 01/14/2018

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