Despite all odds, the Minnesota Vikings have defeated the New Orleans Saints in Louisiana to reach the NFC Divisional Round. It was a tough matchup at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and the guests managed to take it following an OT, 26-20.
Kirk Cousins’s four-yard pass to Kyle Rudolph decided the match, with 4:20 inside the overtime, with the tight end cathing the toss and silencing the hosts’ fans.
“Nobody gave us a chance to win here today, except for the guys in our organization,” said Rudolph, following the event.
However, this touchdown will be a subject of many talks, because of Rudolph’s little push with his hand before the catch. He did extend the entire arm a created space, but the officials didn’t even want to review this call.
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Before this play, Kirk Cousins threw a 43-yard pass to Adam Thielen, and the Vikes’ wide receiver fell two yards away from the end zone. It was the biggest throw and the biggest catch for these two guys in their respective careers. This will be one of the defining moments for Cousins’ future as many doubted his abilities so far. On the other hand, Thielen had 7 receptions for 129 yards, with this one being the longest.
“I’m just glad Kirk can’t win big games,” Rudolph added.
And this one was tough to get. The Saints had a 10-3 lead after Alvin Kamara’s four-yard rush but later fell behind 10 points, when Dalvin Cook rushed for two touchdowns. Minnesota’s running back posted 94 yards on the ground, and 36 through the air in this matchup.
Drew Brees would have a superb drive 85 yards long on 8 plays, which ended with him tossing a 20-yard pass to Taysom Hill, who woke up both the crowd and his team. After that, the Saints quickly forced the guests to punt, and they had enough time to turn the tables.
But in the crucial moments, Drew Brees was sacked, and the ball went loose with Jalyn Homes recovering it at Minnesota’s 36-yard line. The Vikings held the football for almost two and a half minutes before punting, and the Saints reached the OT with Wil Lutz’s 49-yard field goal.
Yet, they didn’t have the strength to stop Cousins and his drive. That is, they couldn’t foresee his fantastic pass to Thielen.
Mike Zimmer was extremely happy at the press conference for various reasons. The first is that his team won and made a huge upset, and the second is Cousins’ excellent performance.
“They said he can’t win a playoff game … He’s only been in two, so he’s 50 percent,” Vikes’ head coach told the reporters.
Captain Kirk was 19-of-31 for 242 yards and one touchdown pass.
“The Saints are the real deal, and this is an extremely tough environment,” said Cousins. “It was a team win, we played good defense, to hold that offense to 20 points is a great job.”
This was the first win for the Vikings on the road against the winning team this season, and it came in the best possible moment.
On the other side, the Saints once again suffered an early elimination, and they will, for sure, have a lot to say about the officiating. Brees threw for 208 yards, 26-of-33 for one TD, and one interception. Michael Thomas caught just 70 yards, while Alvin Kamara rushed for 21.
The season is over the NO, and it is interesting to see what happens next with several of their players.
Meanwhile, the Vikings are going to San Francisco next week to meet the 49ers in the Divisional Round.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.