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Minneapolis Miracle

Vikings playoff curse defeated

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

It was humbling.

The Vikings were up 17-0 well into the third quarter, and really looked to have the game in hand. Only to watch the Saints come back and take the lead with 25 seconds left in the game.

What was a blowout, became a massively blown playoff game that would have ended the Vikings 13-3 season.

But hopefully the first of two miracles in Minneapolis in the next few weeks gave the this Vikings new life this post season.

There is one big lesson this Vikings team- including coaching staff - needs to take away: give 100% every play, don’t give up, most importantly- don’t take your foot off the gas!

That last message applies especially to the Vikings coaching staff.

Up 17-0 at halftime, they took their foot off the gas in their playcalling on both sides of the ball. That led to what seemed a more passive approach on both sides of the ball in the second half.

Against the Bengals or Bears or Browns, that maybe good enough to win. In the playoffs, it’s a recipe for defeat no matter how many points you’re up.

ONE MORE MIRACLE NEEDED

This game, this ending, out-does any other Vikings miracle play in the history of the Minnesota Vikings. The Ahmad Rashad reception comes to mind as a big one prior to this, but this isn’t the final goal for this Vikings team.

Winning at home in Super Bowl 52 remains the goal, and that goal is still two wins away. A first-ever Super Bowl championship for the Vikings franchise, and a first-ever Super Bowl by a team in their home stadium. That is the second miracle Vikings fans around the world are looking for.

EAGLES ON THE ROAD NEXT UP

The Vikings need to choke this miracle down and learn from this experience. Go big or go home has to be the mantra. Finding a way to keep the energy and momentum the Vikings had in the first half for 60 minutes will be key next Sunday in Philadelphia.

The Vikings have the defense to shut out the Foles-led Eagles if they rise to the challenge.

But the Eagles defense is also one of the best in the NFL, and likely the best defense the Vikings will face this year. Their defensive front is better than the Saints’, and will be a big challenge for the Vikings offensive line, which played an excellent first half, only to fade in the second half. They’ll need to finish next Sunday.

The whole Vikings team needs to finish next Sunday, and not hope for another miracle in Philadelphia. Just a workmanlike victory with minimal drama. They can do that by controlling the line of scrimmage, making the plays they’ve made all season, and keep the pedal to the metal for 60 minutes.

From a coaching standpoint, that means not going conservative - a mistake both Mike Zimmer and Pat Shurmur did in the second half tonight.

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

Can the Vikings double-down on the Minneapolis Miracle tonight, get a road win in Philly and keep it up for 60 minutes until the confetti falls amidst cheering fans in US Bank Stadium and Mike Zimmer hoists the Lombardi trophy?

Maybe it’s the Vikings year.

Let’s pray.