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Saints Ready for National Spotlight

Payton & players talk about handling hype of opener

Thursday's night game between the Saints and Vikings is one of the most highly anticipated NFL regular season openers in league history. Last time these two squads met was in last season's NFC Championship game when an overtime 40-yard field goal by K Garrett Hartleysent the Saints to their first Super Bowl.

Below are quotes from head coach Sean Paytonand players on dealing with hype and emotions of hosting the 2010 NFL regular season opener

Head Coach Sean Payton

"The first week of the regular season regardless of whether it's a Thursday game or Sunday game, I don't think anyone's as calm as a cucumber, but I don't think there's added pressure either. I think the word would be added excitement and it would the same for Minnesota. You play four preaseason games and you get to that point in training camp where you look forward to getting the regular season started."

QB Drew Brees

"We were part of this game in 2007 up in Indianapolis after they had won it. Unfortunately that wasn't a great moment because we were on the other side. Hopefully the home team being us, plays like the home team did that night, but I guess I haven't thought a whole lot about it. You're so much in preparation mode for this team and who you're going up against as opposed to thinking about the emotions of when the banner drops, the crowd and everything else, but certainly that's something to start thinking about so I'm somewhat prepared for it, so that I stay calm once we move on from that."

RB Pierre Thomas

"You have all this hype and that is what everybody is talking about 'the rematch' but we aren't thinking about that. As players, we are thinking that this is the first game of the season and we have to focus what we need to do to win the game. The hype is for the fans and media, all we worry about is preparing to win the game.

LB Jonathan Vilma

"We understand there will be a lot more media requests a lot more talk about the game. It will be on SportsCenter a little bit more than other games. We take it all in stride and understand the most important thing is getting the job done. We have to execute and breaking down our opponent behind the cameras and behind closed doors to make sure we come out on top."

DB Tracy Porter

"We always say it but it's true, we will take this as one game at a time. We aren't going to make it more than it is. For our fans and family?  Yes. It is going to be everything for them. For us we just make it as natural as any game."

TE Jeremy Shockey

"I don't think we will have a problem with the emotions of the game and being fresh. We need to focus on our job, fundamentals each and every day in practice and our assignments. The main key to winning this game is focusing on your assignments. The emotions and intangibles are going to be there. The only thing we need to do is focus on the task at hand."

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