MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings will open the season on "Monday Night Football" for the second time in three years. This time, though, they'll be at home, in a matchup that comes with a few subplots (and could eventually add another one).
The Vikings will play host to the New Orleans Saints to open the 2017 season, sources told ESPN Saints reporter Mike Triplett and me. It is only the second time the Saints have visited the Twin Cities since their infamous victory over the Vikings in the 2010 NFC Championship Game, and it means the Vikings' home opener will be in prime time for the second straight season. Their inaugural game at U.S. Bank Stadium was a Week 2 Sunday night victory over the Green Bay Packers last year.
This time, they'll be back on Monday night, two years after they lost to the San Francisco 49ers to begin the 2015 season. Coach Mike Zimmer will start the year against Sean Payton, his good friend from their time with the Dallas Cowboys. While Teddy Bridgewater doesn't figure to be the starting quarterback this time around, he got his first NFL regular-season action the last time the Vikings played the Saints, when Bridgewater stepped in for an injured Matt Cassel in Week 3 of the 2014 season.
That game was also the first one the Vikings played knowing they'd go a long time without Adrian Peterson, who'd been put on the commissioner's exempt list five days before the game. And while Peterson hasn't signed with a team after parting ways with the Vikings last month, it's possible he'ii end up in a Saints uniform.
He visited the Saints earlier this month, leaving without a contract but planning to keep in touch with the club. Peterson is believed to be waiting until after the draft, when rosters are settled and depth charts are clearer, to sign with a team. Were that team to be the Saints, it'd mean Peterson would start his season at U.S. Bank Stadium against his former team.