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John DeShazier: Saints players not getting too excited about win over Vikings

Players are already focused on getting better for Cowboys game

The New Orleans Saints locker room didn't at all resemble a morgue even after consecutive, gut-wrenching road losses in Atlanta and Cleveland to open the season.

So it wasn't much of a surprise that Sunday's 20-9 victory over Minnesota, in the home opener at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, didn't leave players in an overly festive mood Sunday or Monday, either.

The keel was as even in victory as it was in defeat for a team that knows it isn't near where it expects to be, but has the time and resources to get there.

"We're going to review the film, correct our mistakes, not get too high on the win and not get too low," safety Kenny Vaccaro said. "Take it for what it is. We're still 1-2 right now, we've got to get a winning record.

"I think we're a championship team. I think our goals and our aspirations are to go to the Super Bowl, so 1-2 is not acceptable. And (if we were) 3-0, you're just 3-0. You've still got a whole bunch more games to win. So we're going to keep pushing it."

That thought was echoed by one of his secondary teammates, cornerback Keenan Lewis.

"We definitely know we've got a lot of work to do," Lewis said. "We left a lot out there yesterday so we're just going to go to the film and try to get it fixed."

Truthful as that is, Saints players obviously were pleased that this week's corrections will be addressed in the aftermath of victory.

While the Saints produced a plethora of eye-pleasing statistics in the first two games – 34 points, 472 yards and 30 first downs against Atlanta; 174 rushing yards, 324 yards allowed and a 7-for-16 stoppage rate on third down against Cleveland – the results tainted the effort, if not the enthusiasm.

Sunday against the Vikings, the Saints posted their lowest point total of the season but didn't commit a turnover (they're 26-0 under Coach Sean Payton when that happens), held the Vikings to 13 first downs and 247 yards and didn't allow a touchdown.

Twice, Minnesota was held to field goals after driving to first downs at the Saints' 12- and 7-yard lines.

Still, given that areas still can be tidied – the offense didn't score in the second and third quarters, after producing touchdowns on its first two drives – the Saints on Sunday and Monday quickly were putting that result in its proper place, and preparing for the next challenge in Dallas on Sunday night.

"I do think, when you look at the tape, there are some things that we can clean up," Payton said. "You're searching for the perfect game.

"I thought from a starting point, it started well. And then we went through the middle part of that second quarter – defensively we were playing well, we had a few penalties offensively and some drives got stopped. From a snap standpoint, this is one of the first games where it was really tilted more defensively, so the opportunities and possessions offensively were smaller than they had been.

"Each game can kind of play out in its own way. (But) I thought when we needed it toward the end, we were able to come up with some big scores and come up with the stops we needed defensively."

Photos from inside the New Orleans Saints locker room after the team’s win against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, September 21, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert. (New Orleans Saints photos)

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