Rapid Reaction: New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS -- A few thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 20-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:

What it means: The Saints' first victory wasn't nearly as pretty as they would've liked -- especially considering they cruised to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. But they hardly care about style points after an 0-2 start. And, in fact, it was probably even more important for them to prove they can win ugly.

The Saints’ No. 1 goal after two last-second losses to start the season was to finally "finish" a game. That's exactly what they did by outscoring Minnesota 7-0 in the fourth quarter to ice the victory.

Brees' backlash: The Vikings' defense woke up a sleeping giant in the fourth quarter when it gave Drew Brees new life with an unnecessary roughness penalty on a sack. Minnesota should've forced a punt with the sack by blitzing safety Robert Blanton and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. But Munnerlyn slammed Brees to the turf too hard.

Brees was furious as he got up, shoving Blanton and shouting. Then Brees finished the drive with a TD pass to Marques Colston for a 20-9 lead.

Stock Watch: The Saints' defense is taking baby steps -- but it keeps taking them in the right direction. It deserves credit for keeping the Vikings out of the end zone Sunday as New Orleans played bend-but-don't-break throughout the afternoon. The Saints need to do more in the big-play department -- they gave up a handful of them and didn't force any turnovers. But they were at their best in the fourth quarter.

The Saints made changes in their secondary, with Corey White starting as the No. 2 cornerback, Rafael Bush coming in as the fifth defensive back and rookie corner Brian Dixon coming in as the dime back. Patrick Robinson briefly replaced Dixon after a minor injury.

Game ball: Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton put an exclamation point on his nice start to the season with solid run defense and a handful of big-time, open-field tackles. That was the most dominant area of the game for the Saints, who held Minnesota to 59 rushing yards on 22 carries (a 2.7-yard average).

What's next: The Saints took the first step with their first win of the season. Now they need to prove they can win on the road at the Dallas Cowboys. The Saints started to get that road monkey off their back last year with a big playoff victory at Philadelphia. But after starting 0-2 on the road this year, the Saints are 1-7 over their past eight regular-season games away from home.