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Minnesota Vikings 28, New Orleans Saints 25: Vikings hang on in London

What a football game

Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints tried on numerous occasions to give the Minnesota Vikings the first game of this year’s NFL International Series in London. Eventually, the Vikings decided to accept it.


Greg Joseph’s 47-yard field goal with less than 30 seconds remaining provided the final margin to give the Vikings a 28-25 victory over the Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The Saints had an opportunity to tie things up at the end, but. . .well, we’ll get to that.

The Vikings got on the board first, taking the opening kickoff and marching 75 yards. After a touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to K.J. Osborn was taken off the board by offensive pass interference, Cousins found Alexander Mattison for a 15-yard score to give the purple an early 7-0 lead.

The Vikings had a terrible moment late in the first quarter when rookie safety Lewis Cine was injured during a Minnesota punt return. He wound up being carted off of the field with an air cast on his leg.

Following an interception from Kirk Cousins, the Saints tied things up early in the second quarter on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Chris Olave to tie things up at 7-7.

The Vikings took the lead back late in the second quarter, courtesy of a 28-yard field goal from Greg Joseph to make it 10-7 with just over a minute left in the half. Then, the Vikings’ defense forced a turnover with a strip sack of Andy Dalton that was recovered by Harrison Phillips.

The Vikings turned the fumble into three more points, as Greg Joseph connected on a 36-yarder to end a drive that saw some curious clock management. That made the score 13-7 as the teams went into the locker room at halftime.

Minnesota forced another Saints turnover early in the second half, as Kris Boyd forced a fumble from New Orleans punt returner Deonte Harty and recovered it in Saints territory. Again, however, they could only turn it into three points, as they settled for a 24-yard Joseph field goal to make it 16-7 with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter.

The Saints then closed the gap further thanks to a former Viking, running back Latavius Murray. He scored from one yard out to cut the gap to 16-14 with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter of play.

The Vikings then did something that they hadn’t done in forever, executing a great fake punt on a throw from Ryan Wright to Jalen Nailor. Unfortunately, they settled for a field goal again as Joseph connected from 46 yards out to extend the lead to five, 19-14.

On the next drive, the Minnesota defense got bullied down the field by the Saints’ offense, and New Orleans took their first lead of the day on a 2-yard touchdown run by Taysom Hill. After a successful two-point conversion, the Saints had their first lead of the day at 22-19 with nine and a half minutes left in regulation.

The Vikings answered on their next possession, aided by a big pass interference penalty against the Saints that gave them a first-and-goal. Minnesota cashed in with a 3-yard run by Justin Jefferson to take the lead back, but Greg Joseph missed the extra point to leave the score at 25-22 with just under five minutes remaining in regulation.

The Saints responded to tie it up on their next possession, as Will Lutz drilled a 60-yard field goal to make it 25-25 just after the two-minute warning. The Vikings had another shot with the football, and they pushed down to the New Orleans 29-yard line with 29 seconds left on the clock. The Vikings called on Greg Joseph one more time for a 47-yard attempt, and he drilled it to make it 28-25 with 24 seconds remaining.

Dalton hit Chris Olave on a deep pass to the Minnesota 43 on the first play of the Saints’ next drive, and an injury to Harrison Smith caused the clock to stop with 11 seconds remaining. After a couple of incompletions, the Saints called on Lutz for another long field goal, this one a 61-yard attempt, and his kick went off of the crossbar and the upright and fell no good to preserve the win for the Vikings.

This had the potential to be a terrible loss for the Vikings given all of the blown opportunities, but at the end of the game they wound up hanging on for the victory to push their record to 3-1. They’ll return home next week to face the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Saints fall to 1-3 and will host the Seattle Seahawks next weekend.

The Minnesota Vikings hang on to win a wild one in London by a final score of 28-25. Thanks to everybody that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!