Well, if nothing else, the Saints brought a little clarity to the phrase "the more things change, the more they stay the same". Eight new starters, an infusion of youth, and a supposed attitude adjustment on the defensive side of the ball, annnd they still managed to get gouged to the tune of 346 yards by a quarterback that usually needs about a month to reach that number. The preseason hype train that had people (myself included) hesitantly tooting the horn of a pass rush that added no top-end talent didn't even make it past the first stop before encountering technical difficulties. The strength that was supposed to be the secondary couldn't have been any weaker in making Diggs/Thielen look like a Carter/Moss reincarnate. I don't know why Ken Crawley was scratched, but the island that it left DeVante Harris on got sunk quicker than Atlantis. Now, Sam Bradford definitely made some throws that I had no idea Sam Bradford was capable of making, but they were only a light sprinkle in a mixed bag of monstrous plays that had Vikings players running roughshod.
But let's not pretend that the problems began and ended with the defense, because the Saints offense was somehow equally as hard to watch. A lot of credit has to go the Vikings front four, but an offensive genius had an entire offseason to game plan for that game and THAT'S what he came up with? A predictably sporadic running back rotation that only had less rhyme and reason than it did effectiveness? A red zone offense that was so inefficient that it looked like Wil Lutz drew it up to give himself an opportunity to pad his stats. Zach Strief's early injury didn't help matters, but a "great offense" shouldn't be the loss of a 33 year old right tackle away from having to desperately grate out first downs.
All in all, that game couldn't have gone worse for New Orleans. Never mind the 10 point loss, because the all-too-familiar fashion in which it came is really what made it so demoralizing. Speaking objectively, the takeaway from that performance is that Saints are a team that crumbles in hostile conditions, can't stop anyone, and has it's forever top 5 offense inflated by empty stats. Tough to argue that that's not more of a fact than a narrative after watching a team that preached "fast start" fall flat on it's face right out of the gate. Oh well, Tom Brady's coming to town off an embarrassing loss in 6 days on 10 days rest. Surely that's what will quell the woeful effort that has fans resigned to another season of 7-9.
As for Adrian Peterson's short confrontation with Sean Payton, I begrudgingly admit that he has a point. He knew what he was signing up for when he decided to join a team that has always refused to feature even it's feature back, so it's concerning that his usage as a backup had him staring through the back of his head coach's skull halfway through Week 1. However, as quickly as I rolled my eyes while seeing him get in ear of one of the few people to give him a chance, I admittedly related to his level of frustration with the play calling.
Lastly, I actually have no problem with Sean Payton burning timeouts in an effort to get the ball back before the end of the half, and ultimately giving the Vikings enough time to score another touchdown. It's his job to put points on the board, not stop a mediocre offense from marching 95 yards in under two minutes. He'll have to shoulder the criticism for that polarizing decision as always, but I don't consider trusting his players to get one single fucking timely stop a coaching error....unless he does it again this season.