MINNEAPOLIS, MN (WVUE) - The Saints defied the odds by making the playoffs after an 0-2 start, but their march to a Super Bowl ended prematurely with a heart-breaking 29-24 loss to the Vikings in Minneapolis. The Saints held a 24-23 lead late, but a 61-yard pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs as time expired gave the Vikings the victory.
The Saints looked listless in the first two quarters, but opened up their scoring account late in the third quarter on a Drew Brees to Michael Thomas 14-yard touchdown. The 80-yard drive cut the Vikings lead to 17-7.
Case Keenum threw an ill-advised interception right after the Thomas score. Marcus Williams pulled down the pick in Vikings territory.
The Black and Gold made Keenum pay for his mistake, with a Brees to Thomas touchdown connection. The 3-yard score put the Saints only down three.
Following a Kai Forbath field goal, the Saints got another touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Brees to Alvin Kamara.
The Vikings answered with another Forbath field goal to take a 23-21 lead with 1:32 to go.
Brees led the Saints down the field and set up Wil Lutz who nailed a 43-yard field goal to give the Saints a 24-23 lead with less than a minute to play. But the joy for the Saints was short-lived as the Vikings scored as time expired.
The Saints fought hard to get back into the ballgame even though, the first half was swayed heavy in the Vikings favor.
The Vikings came out on fire on their very first drive of the contest. Minnesota capped a 55-yard drive with a Jerick McKinnon 14-yard touchdown.
The Saints were only able to muster 33 total yards in the first quarter. Drew Brees went 1-of-5 passing for 3 yards, and one interception.
In the second quarter, Minnesota kept the petal down on the Saints defense. A drive of big runs, and passes ended with a Latavius Murray 1-yard touchdown run, giving the Vikings a 17-0 advantage.
It appeared New Orleans might finally get on the board in the second quarter. After crossing the 50-yard line for the first time in the game, Brees found Ted Ginn, Jr. for a 29-yard touchdown. The play was called back for an illegal shift by Ginn. A few plays later, Brees was picked again, this time by Anthony Barr off a tipped ball.
The Saints finish the year with an overall record of 11-5.