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Bouman gives his insight on the keys to the game

Todd Bouman

Todd Bouman was a standout prep basketball and football player at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton High School before graduating in 1991.

Many observers believed he was destined to play in the NBA, especially after he won a national high school dunking contest.

The St. Cloud State graduate signed as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Vikings in 1997 and was the backup to Daunte Culpepper. When Culpepper was injured at the end of the 2001 season, Bouman stepped in and completed 21-of-31 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns against the Tennessee Titans, earning him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. The Vikings traded Bouman to the Saints in 2003 and the strong-armed quarterback started the final three games of the 2005 season. He was released after that season when the Saints signed current quarterback Drew Brees. But Bouman was a backup to Brett Favre in Green Bay, signing with the Packers in 2006 when Aaron Rodgers was hurt. He has also been with the Baltimore Ravens, St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars over his 12-year professional career.

Bouman, 37, did not hook on with a team this season. He and his wife, Courtney, a Willmar graduate, live in the Twin Cities with their two children, Aivary and Aidan.

Bouman has completed 129-of-230 passes for 1,683 yards and 11 touchdowns in his NFL career.

What will the Vikings need to do offensively?

"I think to score early will be a big key. The fans in New Orleans are a lot like the Vikings fans and it is especially hard to play on the road, but even more so in a dome. Not only to take the crowd out of the game, but also to utilize their running game to keep the Saints' explosive offense off the field."

What will the Saints need to do offensively?

"I think the biggest concern will have to be the pass rush of the Vikings. The Saints always seem to score points in many different ways ... screens, reverses, etc. I feel they will have to do a good job mixing these things up to keep the pass rush off-balance."

What will the Vikings need to do defensively?

"Put pressure on Drew Brees. Get him uncomfortable and make him move in the pocket, similar to what Dallas did to him (the Cowboys sacked Brees four times and handed the Saints their first loss of the season, 24-17, on Dec. 19)."

What will the Saints need to do defensively?

"Similar to the Vikings. Put pressure on Favre."

What player on each team do you think will be the biggest factor?

"The defensive line for the Vikings and Brees for the Saints."

How much of an advantage will it be for the Saints to play at home?

"To play at home is a distinct advantage if the Vikings let it be. By scoring early and keeping the crowd noise down early will be the key."

You played for both teams. Who do you root for in this game?

"Being from Minnesota I have to say the Vikes.

Who wins and why?

"I feel this is the Vikings' year. They have so many things going for them at this point. I think the pass rush will force a couple of key turnovers."

Your guess for the MVP?


Who wins the AFC Championship?

"I was with (Jets head coach) Rex Ryan last year in Baltimore. He's a great motivator and a great coach to play for. Can't go against that defense. Jets win a close game."

Who wins the Super Bowl?

"Great end for Favre. Vikes win first one."