NEW ORLEANS (KXAN) — The Minnesota Vikings are moving on to the NFC Divisional Round after defeating the New Orleans Saints Sunday in New Orleans.
Minnesota hadn’t won a road playoff game since 2005. It’s fitting they ended their drought facing the elite home field advantage in New Orleans with a 26-20 overtime victory in the NFC wildcard round.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins delivered twice on the opening drive of overtime going deep to Adam Thielen for 43 yards to the Saints 2-yard line. On third and goal, Cousins connected on a fade to Kyle Rudolph for the game-winning touchdown.
Minnesota will travel to face the San Francisco 49ers next Saturday.
New Orleans’ season ends in postseason heartbreak for the third straight season. The Vikings ended the Saints’ season for the second time in three years.
Drew Brees and the Saints offense didn’t get to touch the football in the extra period. It was a shaky performance from a normally excellent New Orleans attack.
The Vikings sacked Saints quarterback Drew Brees three times. The most critical pressure came late in the fourth quarter with the Saints driving to potentially tie or take the lead down 20-17. The Saints had a first-and-10 at the Minnesota 20-yard line when Danielle Hunter stripped the ball from Brees and recovered the ball to stop the drive.
New Orleans got the ball back one last time and was able to drive into field goal range for a 49-yard kick from Will Lutz to send the game to overtime.
Minnesota seized a 13-10 halftime lead with two scores late in the first half. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook scored on a 5-yard run. The Vikings went ahead 20-10 in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Cook.
Brees got the Saints to within 20-17 on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Taysom Hill.
The Saints’ do-it-all athlete, Hill, gave New Orleans its biggest spark on offense connecting on a 50-yard pass to Deonte Harris in the second quarter. On the drive that ended with the Brees fumble, Hill took New Orleans down the field accumulating 42 yards including a 28-yard run.
Brees finished 26-of-33 for 208 yards with a touchdown and interception.
The Saints entered this game with only eight turnovers on the season — the lowest mark in the league — but committed two key turnovers Sunday.