For a while, it looked like the Minnesota Vikings could keep up in a shootout with the New Orleans Saints. In the end, however, the continued failures of the defense ensured that wouldn’t be the case.
Courtesy of an NFL record-tying six rushing touchdowns from Alvin Kamara, the Saints eventually pulled away from the Vikings by a final score of 52-33 at the Superdome on Christmas Day. The loss officially eliminates the Vikings from postseason contention.
The Saints got on the board first, getting a 40-yard touchdown run from Alvin Kamara that saw him go basically untouched through the Minnesota defense. With Will Lutz adding the extra point, the home team had a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest.
The Vikings answered right back on their first possession, mixing runs and passes on their first possession and slicing up the Saints’ highly-ranked defense. The drive concluded with a 15-yard touchdown run for Dalvin Cook, and Dan Bailey added the extra point to make it 7-7 before the midway point of the first quarter.
The Saints did the same thing on their second possession that they did on the first one, and ended it the same way. Kamara went into the end zone for his second touchdown of the first quarter, this one coming from a yard out to put the home team back in the lead by a score of 14-7.
After a Vikings’ punt and an actual defensive stop, the Saints added a 30-yard field goal from Lutz to extend their lead 17-7 early in the second quarter. The Vikings then marched down the field again, putting the ball into the end zone courtesy of a 4-yard run from Mike Boone. Bailey added the extra point, and the Vikings had cut the deficit to 17-14.
The Vikings then forced a turnover from the Saints, courtesy of rookie Harrison Hand, who intercepted a pass from Drew Brees with the Saints in the red zone to end another scoring threat.
The Vikings went three-and-out after the interception, and the Saints then added to their lead with another Kamara touchdown, this one a 4-yard run to make it 24-14 just before halftime.
After the Vikings punted to start the second half, the Vikings got another interception from Brees as a pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders instead went into the hands of Hardy Nickerson, setting the Vikings up inside the Saints’ 20.
The Vikings cashed in on that interception, as Kirk Cousins found Irv Smith Jr. for a 2-yard score to make it 24-20. . .and that’s where the score stayed after Dan Bailey missed yet another extra point.
But the Saints answered right back again, as Alvin Kamara got his fourth rushing score of the afternoon, this one a six-yarder to make the score 31-20 with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Kamara got into the end zone again to start the fourth quarter, as he went over for his fifth touchdown of the afternoon on the Saints’ next drive. The seven-yard run put the Saints back ahead by 11 points at 38-27 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game.
After a three-and-out by the Vikings, the Saints iced it with a 1-yard touchdown run by someone not named Alvin Kamara, as Taysom Hill took it in to ice things for the home team with four minutes left in regulation. Lutz added the extra point to make it 45-27.
The Vikings got a touchdown at the end of the game, as Cousins found Adam Thielen for a 1-yard score on 4th-and-goal. They went for two and Cousins’ pass for Justin Jefferson fell incomplete to keep the score at 45-33.
After the onside kick failed, the Saints decided to add one more score for emphasis, as Brees found Adam Trautman all the way down to the 3-yard line at the two-minute warning. After that, the Saints gave Kamara an opportunity to tie an NFL record with his sixth rushing touchdown, and he did so from three yards out to make it a 52-33 game after the Lutz extra point.
This was a complete failure by the Vikings’ defense at every level, as they allowed 586 yards to the Saints’ offense. That stands as the most yardage given up in a game in the 60-year history of the Minnesota Vikings.
We won’t recap offensive stats for the Vikings because, honestly, they don’t matter. Not in a game where you give up 52 points.
The Vikings have guaranteed themselves a losing record, as they fall to 6-9, and they will play their season finale at Ford Field against the Detroit Lions next Sunday. The Saints are still fighting for the #1 seed in the NFC after moving to 11-4, and they travel to take on the Carolina Panthers in their regular season finale.
The Vikings get crushed on Christmas in New Orleans by a final score of 52-33. Thank you to everybody that got their coverage of this week’s game here at The Daily Norseman, and Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays to all of you out there!