There are a couple reasons the Minnesota Vikings’ win at the New Orleans Saints was so shocking.
First, the Saints were 13-3 and very hard to beat at the Superdome. They looked like a Super Bowl favorite and didn’t even make it to the divisional round.
Also, playoff wins like that rarely happen for the Vikings.
Ask a Vikings fan about their postseason pain, but only if you have a few hours to listen. Minnesota, which goes for another upset as it faces the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday in a game that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app, is among the most tortured franchises in sports.
Wouldn’t it be something if the Vikings broke through all that history and made a run from the No. 6 seed in the NFC?
Vikings got a huge win
The past few years have seen more than a few franchises exorcise longtime demons and win a title. Washington Capitals. St. Louis Blues. Chicago Cubs. Philadelphia Eagles. Houston Astros. Cleveland Cavaliers. University of Virginia men’s basketball. Toronto Raptors.
Maybe it’s the Vikings’ turn. When the Saints stormed back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie last Sunday’s game and send it to overtime, it seemed it would be another sad chapter in Vikings playoff history. Then a funny thing happened: They came up with a clutch drive.
They won the coin toss and Kirk Cousins — who has been ripped for his inability to play well in the biggest moments — hit a long pass to Adam Thielen and then a third-down touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph. Game over.
There was no Drew Pearson Hail Mary catch or Darrin Nelson drop or Gary Anderson miss. Sometimes it just takes one game or play to start to turn around a terrible history. Maybe the Cousins-to-Thielen pass will end up being Minnesota’s version of Dave Roberts’ stolen base or LeBron James’ Game 7 block.
49ers will be a tough opponent
Of course, the Vikings have a long, long way to go before they can realistically think about winning their first Super Bowl.
The 49ers had a phenomenal season. They can run the ball and play strong defense, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has had plenty of big moments this season. San Francisco is no fluke.
But the Vikings belong, too. They were a very good team before stumbling late in the season, but perhaps not enough was made of Dalvin Cook’s absence. Cook’s injury clearly hurt the Vikings’ offense, and he looked good in his return last week.
The Vikings aren’t a typical No. 6 seed. They’re 11-4 with Cook in the lineup this season. They’re a strong all-around team.
If the Vikings can go on the road and beat the Saints, they can beat anyone.
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