Way too much insanity to sort out now. Suffice it to say, the Vikings had ample opportunity to take control of the game in the second half, but failed to do so, largely because of turnovers.
And then there was that final “drive” of regulation, which will now take its place among the most infamous moments in Vikings history. A 12-men in the huddle penalty caused when Brad Childress got cute with a substitution package pushed the Vikings back, setting up the Brett Favre interception that would send the game into overtime.
The bad luck would continue into overtime, when the Vikings gave up a big kick return, losing Cedric Griffin in the process. The Saints got a pass interference call on Griffin’s replacement Asher Allen which handed them a first down. This helped them drive the ball down into field goal range, with assistance from a second pass interference call, this one on Ben Leber.
The Vikings have gotten some help from missed field goals this year, most notably against the Ravens, but not this time. Garrett Hartley knocked it through from 40 to send the Saints to the Super Bowl, and the Vikings home for the off-season.
Much more in the days and weeks to come.