The NBA has rare competition on Christmas Day in 2020. The NFL hopes to steal viewers away from the NBA and garner some excitement for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. If the Vikings played up to expectations this season, then perhaps there would have been a little more intrigue on Christmas in the NFL. Instead of competing for the division, the Vikings are looking to avoid the bottom of the NFC North.
The Vikings enter Friday with a disappointing record of 6-8. The Green Bay Packers are clear and have already clinched the division. Now, their focus is on clinching the NFC and receiving a first-round bye. The Packers welcome the Tennessee Titans to Lambeau Field for what is sure to be an exciting showdown on the frozen tundra in Green Bay on Sunday Night Football.
That game means almost nothing to the Vikings, who are just trying to finish out this season with something positive to talk about. A win over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday would certainly accomplish that objective. There is a very faint chance they reach the playoffs, but it’s very unlikely. The Vikings are coming off a 33-27 loss against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Dalvin Cook did his thing, rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown on 5.5 yards per carry, but he continues to be the only difference maker.
If only there was a wide receiver to stretch the field and make this offense less one-dimensional. The Vikings had that with Stefon Diggs. Compare this offense to what the Bills are doing with the former Viking. Diggs might be a little more valuable than the Vikings thought. In any case, that’s business, and Justin Jefferson is very promising. They need to find a supporting member for Jefferson now. He and Cook can’t do it all.
The Saints are coming off a 32-29 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs at home. The Saints were chasing from behind all game, and couldn’t complete the comeback late in the fourth. They did manage to score to cover the spread, though, so there’s that for gamblers. The Saints go into Friday with a record of 10-4. They have clinched a wildcard and hope to clinch the division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still alive at 9-5 for the NFC South. Head below for our free Vikings vs. Saints props for December 25, 2020.
Football on Christmas? Yes please. 🎄🏈
— NFL (@NFL) December 24, 2020
Dalvin Cook Rushing Yards
The game plan for the Minnesota Vikings isn’t going to be much of a secret. Every defensive coordinator, including Dennis Allen, knows what the Vikings want to accomplish. Pound the ball with Dalvin Cook to soften up the defense and open things up down the field for Kirk Cousins.
It’s worked out to an extent, and Cousins has put up fine numbers, but he needs to be more clutch in the fourth quarter. Cousins has passed for 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on 67.59% completions. His turnovers have been killing the Vikings at the wrong times.
Cook has been going about his business without any complaints, though. He has been a force with 1,484 yards,, and 15 touchdowns on 5 yards per carry for career highs. Cook has also been productive as a receiver out of the backfield with 349 receiving yards and a touchdown. If Cook were on a good team, he’d be getting more attention right now.
He is coming off three very good outings, with 100+ yards against the Jaguars, Buccaneers, and Bears. Running all over the Bucs and Bears isn’t easy. Cook has had eight games with 100+ yards on the ground. In four of his last five games, Cook has eclipsed that mark. The Saints are fourth in the NFL against the run, though the Bucs are first and Cook still walked all over them. At least 90 yards for Cook here looks doable.
Kirk Cousins Rushing Yards
We have another rushing prop and it’s on the Vikings again. While I believe Cook should accumulate more than 90 yards on the ground, I think his quarterback can do the same for this total that I see too low. Cousins might be careless with the football when he drops back to pass, but this prop has nothing to do with his poor decision making. If Cousins can scramble for enough yards then we’re going to have a winning pick here. And the way I see, an aggressive Saints’ defense is likely going to have Cousins on the move.
Cousins has gained 155 yards on 27 carries for 5.7 yards per carry. He’s not a burner by any means, but mobile enough to pick up yardage if the situation presents itself. The Saints are fifth in the NFL with 210.9 passing yards per game. I think we can expect Cousins to be on the move when things don’t open up in the secondary for him. He gained 25 yards on 3 carries last week against the Bears, and a week earlier, ran for 41 yards on 5 carries against the Buccaneers. Cousins has run for at least 10 yards in four straight games as well. This looks like another spot for him to get into double digits on the ground.
Emmanuel Sanders Receiving Yards
Emmanuel Sanders started really slow this season with the Saints. It took him a few games to get heating up. He had a breakout performance against the LA Chargers on October 13, with 12 receptions and 122 yards. This was a week after Sanders was Drew Brees’ favorite target against the Lions as well. Sanders caught 6 receptions for 93 yards in that game. A couple of games later, Sanders played a big role against the Falcons, as Sanders caught 4 receptions for 66 yards. He was developing a solid rapport with Brees in the offense.
However, upon the return of Michael Thomas, and Drew Brees’ injury, Sanders took a backseat in the offense again. With Thomas out of action recently, Sanders has seen his productivity go up again. Sanders is coming off a solid performance against the Chiefs last week. He caught 4 receptions for 76 yards in Brees’ return to the starting lineup. Thomas is out this week, while Brees is in at quarterback against the Vikings. Sanders should have a solid opportunity to get OVER this total.