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Saints Safety is Hazzard for Vikings

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; NEW ORLEANS SAINTS Saints safety Darren Sharper is a hazard for Vikes Darren Sharper's ability to make big plays could be a key factor for New Orleans -- and a threat to his former team. New Orleans Saints coach Sean ...

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Old 01-22-2010, 10:09 PM   #1
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Saints Safety is Hazzard for Vikings

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Saints safety Darren Sharper is a hazard for Vikes
Darren Sharper's ability to make big plays could be a key factor for New Orleans -- and a threat to his former team.


New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, left, talks with safety Darren Sharper during football practice at the club's training facility in Metairie, La., on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010. The Saints host the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL NFC championship football game on Sunday, Jan. 24. Bill Haber / AP Photo
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A lot of talk leading up to the Saints' NFC Divisional Playoff versus the Arizona Cardinals this past Saturday was how New Orleans' seemingly unstoppable offense looked, well, stoppable over the regular season's final three weeks. After all, New Orleans averaged 35.8 points per game during its 13-0 start before posting just 14.7 a game over the three-game skid.

However, the Saints quieted doubters by posting 35 points and 307 yards of offense versus the Cardinals -- in the first half. When all was said and done, the Saints had secured a 45-14 victory and a trip to the NFC Championship Game for the second time in four seasons.

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Darren Sharper loves a good story, even more so when it involves him.

The NFL's active interception king is on the cusp of only the second Super Bowl appearance of his 13-year career. To get there, his Saints must beat Minnesota, the team that let him go after last season, and Brett Favre, who was once Sharper's teammate, then a rival, and still a friend.

He wouldn't want it any other way.

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The last time the Minnesota Vikings made the Super Bowl, Brett Favre was in elementary school. The next trip the New Orleans Saints make to the big game will be their first.

Are you experienced? Well, yes and no.

Granted, reaching the NFL's title game has been elusive for the Vikings since 1977 and unattainable for the Saints forever. But appearing in the playoffs has been something of a ritual for some of their stars, from Favre to Steve Hutchinson to Ryan Longwell for Minnesota. And from Drew Brees to Darren Sharper to Jeremy Shockey for New Orleans.

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The resemblance, in many ways is uncanny.

In the Rams' stage production, the role of clinically-accurate signal-caller was played by Kurt Warner, who won two league MVP awards in three years on the strength of his right arm. Though smaller in stature, Drew Brees is, like Warner, a quarterback who can hit a target on either eye from 40 yards away and is generally impossible to pressure (just ask the Giants) due to a quick delivery and motherboard-fast decision-making ability.

•Brett Favre is where he expected to be with the Vikings
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MINNEAPOLIS - It was a classic case of what he said and what he meant. The clip will be played over and over on Sunday on the pre game shows.

During Vikings quarterback Brett Favre's weekly news conference Wednesday leading up to Sunday's NFC playoff game against Dallas, he was asked about his thoughts on returning next season.

The answer was more candid than expected from Favre, whose attention was focused on the playoffs, not a third retirement in three years.
BY JEFF DARLINGTON
jdarlington@MiamiHerald.com
NEW ORLEANS -- During his final meeting with reporters Friday before a hugely anticipated NFL weekend, Saints coach Sean Payton summed up perfectly the importance of the four quarterbacks in each of Sunday's two conference championship games.

``They can fly you safely to your destination,'' Payton said. ``Or they can take you right into a mountain.''

In this case, as Vikings quarterback Brett Favre attempts to pilot his plane toward the South Florida runways where Super Bowl XLIV will be played in two weeks, the veteran will need to avoid one very familiar, very dangerous peak along his route.

Watch out for Mount Sharper.

Saints safety Darren Sharper, who spent eight of his 13 NFL seasons playing with Favre in Green Bay, has the potential to become the day's biggest story if the playmaker can cause his usual disruptions after Sunday's 6:40 p.m. kickoff.

Much like Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis will target Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Sharper will be the man most capable of doing the same to Favre. This could be an epic matchup between two of the game's best.

``He's come up with a number of big plays to help us win games,'' Payton said. ``Certainly an important part of what we do.''

Dolphins' fans should be very familiar with Sharper already. It was Sharper who pulled the Saints to within seven points after Miami jumped out to a 21-point lead in October.

When a pass from quarterback Chad Henne bounced off Ted Ginn Jr.'s hands, Sharper somehow came up with the football and returned it for a momentum-changing (and perhaps even season-altering) touchdown.

``Darren Sharper has been the mainstay in our secondary




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Saints safety Darren Sharper is a hazard for Vikes - Miami Dolphins & NFL - MiamiHerald.com



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