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New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: Third Quarter Open Thread

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The home team is up 17-0 at halftime in this one.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Holding a 10-0 lead over the New Orleans Saints after one quarter of play, the Minnesota Vikings were looking for more, as they started the frame with the football at the New Orleans 40-yard line. Case Keenum hit Adam Thielen on the first play to bring up 2nd-and-1, and Latavius Murray burrowed forward for a first down on the next play. On the next third down, Keenum found Thielen again for a nice 11-yard gain and another first down to the Saints’ 17.

Two plays later, Murray appeared to have a 15-yard touchdown run, but the score was taken off the board by a holding call on Mike Remmers. Keenum then found Kyle Rudolph on second down for eight yards, and on 3rd-and-8 from the 14, Keenum found Stefon Diggs for a gain of 11 to the New Orleans 4. After a pass interference penalty gave the Vikings first-and-goal at the 1, Murray took a handoff and found his way into the end zone for another Minnesota touchdown. Kai Forbath added the extra point, and the Vikings were up 17-0 with ten minutes left in the quarter.

Forbath’s kickoff went through the end zone for another touchback, giving Drew Brees and company the ball at their own 25-yard line once again. The Saints finally got another first down, as he found Michael Thomas for a gain of 11 yards on the first play of the possession. Alvin Kamara then carried the ball for 10 more and another first down, and the Saints were suddenly near midfield. Brees then found Josh Hill on a tight end screen for a 22-yard gain to the Minnesota 30-yard line. The Saints appeared to have a touchdown on a pass from Brees to Ted Ginn, but the Saints were called for an illegal shift that brought it back.

Brees then found Kamara on a short pass that the rookie turned into a 19-yard gain and a first down for the Saints, and they were in the Minnesota red zone at the 15. Brees dropped back to pass, and had his throw deflected by Everson Griffen and into the hands of Anthony Barr for another interception! Barr took the return to the Minnesota 28, and a horse-collar tackle on Terron Armstead moved the ball to the 43.

Unfortunately, the Vikings couldn’t do anything with the ball following the turnover, and they went three-and-out. Ryan Quigley came on to punt again, and Tommylee Lewis called for the fair catch at the New Orleans 9-yard line.

Brees found Ginn on a short throw to start the drive for the Saints, and Kamara then ran the ball to move the sticks. Brees then found Ginn again for another first down to the 33-yard line. After that, Minnesota got their first sack of the afternoon, as Everson Griffen came flying around from Brees’ blind side and got to the quarterback for a strip sack. The Saints got themselves a big play, though, as Brees found Kamara on a screen that he turned into a 23-yard gain to midfield. Brees then found Michael Thomas, and he got the ball into Minnesota territory at the 30. After a sack by Harrison Smith, the Saints brought on Will Lutz for a 58-yard field goal attempt, and Lutz pushed it to the left to keep the Saints scoreless.

The Vikings got into position for a 49-yard field goal attempt for Forbath, thanks to a personal foul on Cameron Jordan. However, Forbath also pushed his attempt to the left, and the Vikings went into the locker room with a 17-0 lead.

Keenum has played an efficient game to this point, as he’s completed 12-of-18 passes for 113 yards. The leading receiver for the Vikings thus far has been Adam Thielen, with three receptions for 35 yards in the first half. Jarius Wright has two grabs for 29 yards, while Stefon Diggs has two receptions for 28 yards. Kyle Rudolph has a pair of receptions for 14 yards, and Latavius Murray has one catch for four yards. Jerick McKinnon has caught two passes, but gained just three yards on those catches.

On the ground, Murray is leading the way with 31 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while McKinnon has chipped in with four carries for 25 yards and a touchdown of his own.

The defense has been the story in this one so far, as the Vikings have intercepted Brees twice and limited the Saints to 0-of-4 on third down attempts. The Saints have not been able to generate any sort of offense thus far.

We’re moving on to the second half in Minneapolis, folks, and the good guys hold a 17-0 lead. They’ll also get the football first in the second half of this one. Come on in and join us for all the action!