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Kirk Cousins and Kyle Rudolph Top Saints in Overtime for 26–20 Upset Wild Card Win

Cousins

The underdog Minnesota Vikings upset the New Orleans Saints 26-20 in a thrilling overtime matchup in the NFC Wild Card Round on Sunday.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins put the Vikings just 2 yards away from the endzone when he hit Adam Thielen on a clutch 43-yard pass. Three plays later, he ended the game and silenced the crowd at the Mercedes Benz Super Dome with a 4-yard touchdown to Kyle Rudolph.

The Vikings led 13–10 at halftime before both teams struggled at the start of the third quarter. Cousins and Minnesota struck first in the second half when he connected with Adam Thielen for a 35-yard pass to put the Vikings at the 1-yard line. Running back Dalvin Cook punched it in on second-and-goal to put Minnesota ahead, 20-10.

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Third-string quarterback and offensive utilityman Taysom Hill was the star of the Saints offense for much of the day. He completed a 50-yard pass to Donte Harris in the second quarter and later caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to bring New Orleans within three points in the fourth quarter.

Brees and the Saints rallied but settled for a Will Lutz 49-yard field goal to send the game into the overtime. Brees finished the game with 26 completions on 33 attempts for 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He did not get a chance to redeem himself in overtime. 

Two years ago, the Saints' season ended with a loss to the Vikings on the Minneapolis Miracle—Case Keenum's last-second 27-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs. Last year, the Saints were on the wrong end of an ugly no-call against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Vikings will play the San Francisco 49ers next Saturday.