Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Vikings at Saints

No longer are an NFL team's fortunes solely determined by what transpires every weekend on the field. But just as much or more so now by what may have occurred behind the doors of a locker-room, an elevator, a bedroom or a child's playroom - in season, out of season, recently or months or even years removed.

Never in the NFL's history have social issues superseded box scores to this extent in determining the headlines of the day. Whether you think that's absolutely necessary to move society forward or personally intrusive unnecessarily, this is the world the NFL has become, and the Minnesota Vikings have had the misfortune to live in for a second straight week.

The absence of Adrian Peterson's talents coupled with the distraction to the team by his actions that precipitated that absence were too much for the Vikings to overcome a week ago. With the running back in the lineup in week one, the Vikings won on the road over the Rams by four touchdowns. In week two without him, they lost at home to the Patriots by three of them.

Now they go back on the road as two-score underdogs to a winless Saints team making its welcomed home season debut.

For 60 minutes, it will just be about football for the visitors. And as soon as the final gun sounds, it won't be - again. The NFL as we knew it will never be the same again after the off-the-field incidents that have drawn such intense and unprecedented scrutiny in Minnesota, Baltimore and Arizona.

No longer does a Sunday afternoon provide us respite from the ills of society in our workaday world. Now it reminds us of them and underscores their existence at all socio-economic levels.

This is no longer your father's NFL. Only time will tell what kind of NFL becomes our children's.