Holding a 17-0 lead over the New Orleans Saints, the Minnesota Vikings received the opening kickoff of the second half of this Divisional Playoff matchup. The kick from Will Lutz went through the end zone for a touchback, giving Case Keenum and company the start at their own 25-yard line. After Latavius Murray lost yards on first down, Keenum found him with a pass in the flat that Murray turned into a 13-yard gain and a first down. The Vikings then found themselves looking at a third-and-short, and C.J. Ham barrelled into New Orleans territory.
Keenum then found Stefon Diggs for a gain of seven, and a run by Jerick McKinnon brought up another 3rd-and-1 situation. Keenum faked to Murray and then hit Kyle Rudolph for a short gain to move the sticks. A couple of handoffs to Murray brought up another third down situation, this one a 3rd-and-4 from the New Orleans 30-yard line. Unfortunately, Keenum was then sacked by Sheldon Rankins to end the drive and push the Vikings out of field goal range. Ryan Quigley was called on to punt it away, and he did something that he hadn’t done all season. . .put the ball into the end zone for a touchback. That gave the Saints the ball at their own 20 for their first possession of the second half.
The Saints picked up a first down on a run by Alvin Kamara and a completion to Michael Thomas to start their possession, and Drew Brees then found Ted Ginn to make it second and short. Mark Ingram was stuffed on second down, and the Saints faced another third down, this one of less than a yard. Brees went with the sneak, and the Saints had their first third-down conversion of the day at their own 45. After a run by Kamara, Brees found Thomas for a gain of 23, and the Saints were into Minnesota territory at the 28-yard line.
Kamara then carried the ball for five yards, and then took an end-around for three more, bringing up a 3rd-and-2. Brees got another third down conversion, as he found Willie Snead for a short gain to the Minnesota 14 and another first down. Two plays later, the Saints finally got on the scoreboard, as Brees found Thomas for a 14-yard touchdown. Lutz added the extra point, and the Vikings’ lead was cut to 17-7 with just over a minute left in the quarter.
The kickoff from Lutz went through the end zone for a touchback, and the Vikings took over at their own 25. On the first play of the drive, Keenum was pressured by Cam Jordan, and threw up an ill-advised pass for Stefon Diggs that was intercepted by Marcus Williams. Williams returned the pick to the Minnesota 30, and the Saints were in business once again.
As we move to the fourth quarter, the Saints have the ball, 1st-and-10 at the Minnesota 15-yard line.
We’ve got fifteen minutes left to play at U.S. Bank Stadium, and the Minnesota Vikings hold a 17-7 lead over the New Orleans Saints, but New Orleans is looking for more. Can the Vikings hold on and get themselves a trip to Philadelphia next weekend?