NEW ORLEANS (12-5) at MINNESOTA (13-3)

Sunday Bradley Chubb Color Rush Jersey , 4:40 p.m. EST, Fox

OPENING LINE – Vikings by 4

RECORD VS. SPREAD -New Orleans 8-8, Minnesota 11-4-1

SERIES RECORD – Vikings lead 21-11

LAST MEETING – Vikings beat Saints 29-19, Sept. 11, 2017

LAST WEEK – Saints beat Panthers 31-26; Vikings had first-round bye

AP PRO32 RANKING -Saints No. 6, Vikings No. 2

SAINTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (2), RUSH (5), PASS (5)

SAINTS DEFENSE – OVERALL (17), RUSH (16), PASS (15)

VIKINGS OFFENSE – OVERALL (11) Patrick Omameh Color Rush Jersey , RUSH (7), PASS (11)

VIKINGS DEFENSE – OVERALL (1), RUSH (2), PASS (2)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Vikings have won two of three postseason matchups with Saints, 1987 wild-card game in New Orleans and 2000 divisional-round game in Minnesota. Saints won 2009 NFC championship game at home. … Vikings are 13-3 at home in history against Saints, including the one playoff victory. … Saints are 7-4 in six appearances in playoffs under coach Sean Payton. They’re 1-4 on road, excluding neutral-site win in Super Bowl 44. … Saints QB Drew Brees passed for 376 yards against Panthers, his second-highest total of season. … Saints rookie Alvin Kamara, who had second-most receptions (81) in league by RB in regular season Jeremy Kerley Color Rush Jersey , had only one catch against Panthers. … Saints FB Zach Line, who spent four seasons with Vikings, had TD run last week. … Saints, who ranked third in NFL in regular season with 20 interceptions and tied for ninth in league with 25 total takeaways, did not force turnover vs. Panthers. … Saints’ defense ranked eighth in NFL in sacks per pass attempt in regular season and sacked Panthers’ Cam Newton four times last week, including one by team leader Cameron Jordan. … Jordan had only sack for Saints in season-opening loss at Minnesota, when Sam Bradford was Vikings QB and passed for 346 yards and three TDs without turnover on 27 of 32 completions for career-high 143.0 rating. …. Vikings allowed 27 sacks in regular season, seventh fewest in league. … Jordan, who had career-high 13 sacks in regular season, is son of former Vikings TE Steve Jordan Trent Murphy Color Rush Jersey , who was six-time Pro Bowl pick and caught TD pass in 1987 win in playoffs against Saints. … Vikings’ record against spread in regular season was best in NFL. … Vikings had first-round bye for fourth time under current playoff format. They reached NFC championship game each of three previous instances. … Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is 0-1 in playoffs. … Payton and Zimmer were assistants on Cowboys staff together between 2003-05, with Payton running offense and Zimmer running defense. … This is Vikings QB Case Keenum’s first career start in playoffs and first playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016 and is site of next month’s Super Bowl. … Vikings WR Stefon Diggs had TD catch in each of last three games. He had two TDs and 93 yards in opener against Saints. … RB Latavius Murray had 745 yards and eight TDs in last 10 games of regular season. He had TD run last season in playoffs for Raiders against Texans. … Vikings FS Harrison Smith tied career high with five interceptions and was one of two players in league with 70 or more tackles, five or more interceptions and one or more sacks. … Vikings allowed only 20 runs of 10-plus yards in regular season, fewest in NFL since 49ers in 1995.



Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano apologized to his teammates, the organization and the fans for his 80-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug agreement.

Cano tested positive for Furosemide, a diuretic that can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs.

”I wanted to apologize genuinely to the city of Seattle and to all the fans and the young baseball players in the (United) States and the (Dominican Republic) and most importantly to my teammates,” Cano said. ”I wanted to show my face to you guys. I don’t think for me it’s fair to just come back and walk into the clubhouse.

”I wanted to do this earlier. But I don’t want to be a distraction for the team. So I was waiting for the right time.”

Cano said he couldn’t discuss details of the testing process but maintained the substance was prescribed to him in the Dominican Republic for the treatment of a medical issue.

”I’ve been getting tested for the last 12 seasons and I’ve never had an issue with MLB policy,” he said. ”I was treating for some medical ailments and I was being supervised by a doctor. But at the same time, I understand that everything that goes into my body Uchenna Nwosu Color Rush Jersey , I’m responsible for that.”

He said the suspension was the most difficult thing he’s dealt with in his life outside of the death of his grandfather.

”I love this game so much,” Cano said. ”For me, baseball is everything. You know I hate to sit in the dugout and have a day off and being away from the game and not being able to sit in the dugout and cheer for my teammates, that makes it even harder.”

Mark Texeira, a former first baseman for the New York Yankees and Cano’s teammate, said on a New York radio show that he was ”not surprised” Cano was suspended for PED use. Yankees G.M. Brian Cashman made comments seemingly suggesting the same.

”Every time you hear a negative comment, it’s going to hurt anyone,” Cano said of his former colleagues. ”But I don’t really pay attention because what I really care about (is) those who come out and say positive things like C.C. (Sabathia) and Mariano (Rivera). Because if you focus on the negative then you’re always going to live in the past. I’m one who looks ahead. I don’t really care what they said. They can say whatever they want. I hope none of them or their family go through a situation like this because it’s easy to go out and judge anyone.”

Cano has remained close to the team and does workouts at Safeco Field before the team arrives each day. He leaves the stadium before his teammates get to work and watches all the games from home. He will head to his father’s academy in the Dominican Republic in the near future to begin ramping up his baseball work.

Cano was hitting .287 with a .385 on-base percentage, .441 slugging percentage, 10 doubles http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com...averett-jersey , four home runs, 23 RBI and 21 walks for the season when the suspension was handed down in May.

The Mariners would love to get Cano’s bat back in the lineup, but finding a spot for him in the field could be more troublesome. Dee Gordon has excelled defensively at second base in Cano’s absence after moving back to his old position from center field. With Cano ineligible for postseason play, Gordon will need to play second base in the playoffs as well should the Mariners qualify for the first time since 2001.

Cano said he was open to whatever role the team wants him to play upon his return.

”This is not about myself. This is about us as a team,” Cano said. ”We are playing for the city of Seattle. All of us, the city, my teammates, and myself. I’m focused on bringing a title to Seattle so I would do whatever it takes to help this team to win. At the same time I understand I’m not going to be able to play in the playoffs so you got to give a chance to Dee to go out and play because when we get to the playoffs he’s going to have to come back and play second base.”

Cano went on the disabled list on May 14 due to a fractured bone in his right hand with the suspension being handed down the following day. The Mariners have a 34-16 record in the 50 games Cano has missed. Barring any postponements, Cano is eligible to return to the Mariners on Aug. 14.



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