4 games that define the Vikings intense rivalry with the Saints

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Stefon Diggs
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Stefon Diggs /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Stefon Diggs /

2017 NFC Divisional Round

In this game, the Vikings had found redemption. Years of trying and years of frustration saw the Mike Zimmer-led squad to a 13-3 record for the 2017 season, one of the best records in franchise history. The Vikings just needed to win two games to host their own Super Bowl, as U.S. Bank Stadium was the host that year, and one more to win it.

The only problem, the first team they would face in the playoffs was none other than the Saints. Still led by Drew Brees, and head coach Sean Payton, enough familiar faces were around to remember the sting eight years prior.

At one point, the Vikings went into the half up 17-0. It looked like the Saints would be an easy opponent and Minnesota would be on to another NFC Championship. But as they came back from the half, the Saints came marching into the tune of a 24-23 lead with only 10 seconds left for the Vikings to use.

Quarterback Case Keenum threw a pass to Stefon Diggs, Marcus Williams missed a tackle on Diggs, and the rest was history. In Joe Buck’s words: ”Diggs. Sideline. Touchdown. Unbelievable, Vikings win it!”

The Vikings won on a last-second play, and they were one game away from a home Super Bowl. All was right in the Twin Cities. For about two weeks until the Vikings were demolished by the Philadelphia Eagles in that year’s NFC Championship to the tune of 38-7.

But as far as the Saints are concerned, it sent them home for the year, it was the last game Keenum ever played in purple and serves as a fond memory for Vikings fans to get redemption over the black and gold organization that did them wrong.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /

2019 NFC  Wild-Card Round

This game is the last on this list that is a playoff game, but it still holds merit, even as a wild-card game. Both had to start from the bottom to try to advance their spot all the way to the Super Bowl, so why not kick it off between the Vikings and Saints?

Maybe not in true Minneapolis Miracle function, the 2019 wild-card game against the Saints is still a special one for the Vikings. It was Mike Zimmer’s last playoff win as a head coach for the organization, and the first playoff win in the career of quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Heading into overtime with the score tied at 20 all, Cousins was able to deliver one of the most clutch throws in his career; a deep bomb to Adam Theilen to set them up 1st and Goal.

On 3rd and Goal, Cousins lofted a ball to tight end Kyle Rudolph for a touchdown. Game over, and season over for the Saints. Now with two straight victories, the momentum pointed towards the Vikings and Saints with this rivalry and most notably playoff matchups.

While New Orleans will always have that not-so-Super Bowl win, the Vikings were able to send them home – once in Minneapolis – once in New Orleans. And with a 4-1 record against the Saints in the playoffs, that one will always sting, but it’s nice to know the odds are in favor for the purple and gold shall they meet once more in the playoffs.

But a game out of the playoffs, on a holiday, serves as the last game that defines the Vikings’ rivalry with the Saints.