Last year the Vikings beat the Saints in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs in outstanding fashion. Following three lead changes in the fourth-quarter, Case Keenum threw a pass that was somehow caught by Stefon Diggs and ran in for the touchdown to win the game.
Since then, that game and that play have earned a nickname: the Minnesota Miracle.
This year, it was the Saints turn to come away with a win in Minneapolis, beating the Vikings 30-20 on Sunday Night Football.
The win continues a streak for the Saints that has reached six games following a loss in the season opener, while the Vikings fell to 4-3-1 and out of first place in the NFC North.
Minnesota is having a more difficult season than most fans and analysts expected. They lost to the Bills 27-6 in week three to go along with a tie against Green Bay in week two and a 38-31 loss to the undefeated Rams.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had the demeanor of a man who simply got beat in his post-game press conference, saying he was proud of the way his team played.
And they did play well.
The defense limited Drew Brees to 120 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception. New Orleans totaled 106 rushing yards, a low number with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara in the backfield. The longest play of the game for the Saints was a 44-yard pass by third string quarterback Taysom Hill out of what is essentially a wildcat formation.
Kirk Cousins had another good game throwing the ball for the Purple People Eaters, passing for 359 yards, two touchdowns and one pick.
In fact, the Vikings surpassed the Saints in every category except rushing yards. Minnesota had 85 and New Orleans ran for 106.
The real difference in the game were turnovers.
Adam Thielen fumbled on a drive when Minnesota was marching down the field near the end of the first half, and Marshon Lattimore returned it a long way. The Saints offense took advantage with an Alvin Kamara touchdown run.
Later in the game, P.J. Williams, who the Vikings were picking on early, intercepted a pass intended for Diggs and returned it to the house.
Saints head coach Sean Payton said before the game that he ignored last year’s game entirely and prepared for this week like any other. He kept that sentiment in his post-game press conference.
“Look, that game was the game last year,” Payton said. “I think our team handled the week really well. The focus was on winning this game in the regular season, right now, against a good team. And we were able to do that.”
The Vikings go on to play the Lions at home Sunday. Both of those teams will be looking for a win after a disappointing loss, as well as to gain ground in the division.
The Saints head back to the Big Easy to take on the 8-0 Rams in a game that could be repeated in January in the NFC Conference Finals.