10 most agonizing playoff losses in Minnesota Vikings history

Minnesota Vikings kicker Gary Anderson
Minnesota Vikings kicker Gary Anderson / JEFF HAYNES/GettyImages
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2. 2009 NFC Championship Game

New Orleans Saints - 31
Minnesota Vikings - 28

After years of tormenting the Vikings while he was in Green Bay, quarterback Brett Favre signed with Minnesota before the 2009 season.

To those who believed that Favre was past his prime in his 19th year, he responded with 4,202 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, and seven interceptions for an NFL-best 1.3 interception percentage. Favre’s leadership helped Minnesota reach second overall in offense while the defense was 10th.

The Vikings hit their bye week with a 7-1 record and then took five of their last eight for a 12-4 overall record.

In the Divisional round, Minnesota barely broke a sweat while throttling Dallas 34-3. Then, the team traveled south to New Orleans and squared off against the 13-3 Saints in the NFC Championship Game.

As good as Minnesota was, not many people expected the Vikings to challenge the top-ranked New Orleans offense led by quarterback Drew Brees. In fact, Brees and the Saints appeared destined for the Super Bowl after averaging almost 32 points per game.

However, it was soon evident that both teams were evenly matched and at halftime, the score was tied at 14 all. The game continued to see-saw back and forth, with Minnesota and New Orleans scoring 14 points a piece.

Late in the fourth quarter, with the score tied 28-28, Favre and the Vikings advanced to the Saints' 33-yard line. On the next two plays, Minnesota was stuffed for no gain, but the team was still easily in range for a Ryan Longwell field goal.

Then, to the sheer agony of Vikings fans, the team took a time-out with 12 men in the huddle and were called for a penalty. The infraction moved the offense back five yards and Minnesota chose to throw the ball to get closer for Longwell.

On the ensuing play, Favre was flushed from the pocket and could have run for the first down. Instead, he threw across his body and was picked off by the Saints Tracy Porter.

Regulation time ended soon after with the contest still tied.

In overtime, the Saints took the ball downfield and overcame a controversial Robert Meachem “catch” to get to the Vikings' 23-yard line. Kicker Garrett Hartley then booted a 40-yard field goal to win 30-27 and send the Saints to Super Bowl XLIV.

New Orleans would win its first world title by defeating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17.