Vikings vs Saints Week 4: Who has the edge at each position?

The Minnesota Vikings opened up as a 2.5-point favorite over the New Orleans Saints.

While this is a technical home game for the Saints, Vegas considers it a neutral site game which means they believe the Vikings have the advantage in London.

In looking at each teams position groups, both teams are built in a similar way. Lets take a look and see who has the advantage at each position.

Quarterback: Vikings

Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

While Jameis Winston is the most talented of the two players, it’s no surprise that Kirk Cousins ranks higher than Winston. What he lacks in pure arm talent he makes up for with accuracy and better decision-making. With the news that Winston didn’t practice on Wednesday, that also gives the Vikings an even more clear advantage as Andy Dalton isn’t even close to the type of passer that Cousins is.

Running back: Saints

Sep 11, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs against Atlanta Falcons linebacker Rashaan Evans (54) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This one really comes down to Alvin Kamara vs Dalvin Cook. With Cook’s shoulder injury, I give this one to Kamara. Both backs have great vision and are explosive with the ball in their hands while also able to catch the ball out of the backfield. Kamara is officially listed as questionable but the expectation is that he plays on Sunday. Cook doesn’t have a great history of playing well with his shoulder injury so the edge goes to the Saints.

Wide receiver: Vikings

Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) catches a touchdown pass against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings have one of the best receiving corps in the National Football League. Not only is Justin Jefferson the best receiver in football, Adam Theilen and K.J. Osborn are excellent secondary options that can both extend the field and snap off routes in the short and intermediate levels.

On the Saints side, Michael Thomas is still a very good player but he hasn’t shown himself to quite be at the level that he was before the ankle injury sidelined him all of last season. Jarvis Landry is also hurt but Chris Olave, who I compared to Jefferson during the last draft cycle. There is still a lot of talent for the Saints but it isn’t quite on the level of the Vikings.

Tight end: Vikings

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams have three tight ends that are talented and can make an impact during the game in both the passing and running game. Both teams use their tight ends well and in multiple ways. The Vikings have the best tight end of the bunch by a decent margin in Irv Smith Jr. A true move tight end, Smith Jr. has the ability to not just beat linebackers and safeties but can also be successful on the outside against cornerbacks.

Offensive line: Saints

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk (71) in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings offensive line has taken quite a jump this season. With Christian Darrisaw taking a huge next step and Garrett Bradbury playing at his peak, the offensive line has done a great job protecting Kirk Cousins this season. For the Saints, they have a better overall unit and the best player of either team in Ryan Ramczyk. Cesar Ruiz, Erik McCoy and Andrus Peat form an excellent interior trio that is inherently better than the Vikings.

Defensive line/pass rushers: Vikings

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the fourth quarter of their game Sunday, September 11, 2022 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers 23-7.
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The Vikings and the Saints each have two really talented pass rushers but the Vikings have the better duo with Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith. Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport are each really good football players but combined are just not on the level of Hunter and Smith. Plus, the Vikings interior of Dalvin Tomlinson, Harrison Phillips and Jonathan Bullard is the strongest between the two teams.

Linebackers: Saints

Sep 25, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis (56) celebrates his tackle against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams have linebacker units that are top-heavy. Demario Davis is one of the best linebackers in the league and somehow is also unappreciated. He does a little bit of everything for that Saints defense. Eric Kendricks is in the same spot for the Vikings. He is all over the place for Minnesota. What separates the two groups is their running mates. Pete Werner has been a great force for the Saints on the second level and is a better player than Jordan Hicks at this point especially when you factor in athleticism and potential.

Defensive backs: Saints

Sep 18, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) tackles Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Scotty Miller (10) during the second half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints arguably have the best two defensive back in Marshon Lattimore and Tyrann Mathieu along with Lattimore and Bradley Roby being the best cornerbacks in the game. The Saints will need them to be at their best to handle the Vikings receiving corps. The Vikings secondary has Harrison Smith and a bunch of wild cards. Cameron Dantzler and Patrick Peterson have their moments of success and struggles. Establishing consistency will be the key in this game.

Specialists: Tie

Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (1) kicks a 45-yard field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Both teams have a solid group of specialists. Greg Joseph has been a stalwart kicker for the Vikings and Will Lutz has been the same for the Saints. Both punters have also been good in Ryan Wright and Blake Gillikin. No real issues on either side which will create a good base for both teams

Coaching: Tie

Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell greets players before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, it’s really hard to differentiate these two head coaches who are in their first season as the top guy with their respective teams. Dennis Allen has been a head coach before but it wasn’t a good situation nor was it close to what he has in New Orleans. Kevin O’Connell has been good so far for the Vikings but he has only been a head coach for three games in his career. There is still a lot to know about these two coaches and their stories are yet to be told.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire