MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Vikings are entertaining and will return to Minnesota 3-1 from London after a 28-25 win against the New Orleans Saints at Tottenham Hotspur.
With 24 seconds left, Greg Joseph’s fifth field goal from 47 yards gave the Vikings the lead. Wil Lutz attempted to make it to overtime by trying from 61 yards away. Lutz converted from 60 yards away, a record-breaking distance. His try fell just short of the goal line.
“I thought it was going in as soon as he hit it. After the game, I told him that he hit them both with pure intent. It felt like the thing had a good chance of going through. It was supposed to go in, but it left my foot. “Thankfully it didn’t,” Kevin O’Connell, Vikings coach, said.
Although the Vikings’ win in London was disappointing, they return home with a more pleasant experience. They had to rally from being down 24-14 in quarter four to win a 28-24 victory over the Lions. They led 16-7 in the third quarter and were down 22-19 by the end of the fourth. Sunday’s win was theirs.
This win partially covers a poor day for the Vikings’ offensive and a difficult second half for defense. Justin Jefferson had 10 catches, 147 yards and a short rush touchdown, giving the Vikings a lead of 25-22 with 4:05 to go.
The biggest play by Jefferson was a 39-yard catch by Kirk Cousins. This set up Joseph’s eventual winning field goal. Cousins was 25-of-38 for 273 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Three drives in the red zone ended in Joseph field goals for the Vikings, rather than touchdowns. Harrison Phillips recovered the ball from Dalvin Tomlinson, who had fumbled Andy Dalton’s sack. This resulted in Joseph’s second field goal. The Vikings were forced to settle for a field goal just before the half.
O’Connell stated that there were critical moments where there might have been three opportunities for seven. That way, if O’Connell and the team do that, it may not be as close at the end. “Just learning opportunities for us, it’s not always easy to hear, however, we’re only four games into the thing and there are tons of opportunities to coach better.
Adam Thielen had eight receptions for 72 yards and Dalvin Cook had twenty carries for 76. Alexander Mattison caught one pass on the day. However, it was a touchdown of 15 yards on a screen in quarter 1.
With 9:29 remaining, the Saints took a 22-19 lead over the Vikings. However, they held a lead of 16-7 in the second half. Saints were within 16-14 when Latavius Murray scored at 1-yards. With a short touchdown in quarter four, Taysom Hill gave them the lead.
Minnesota’s defense allowed Dalton to pass for 236 yards and one touchdown. The Saints were without five starters including Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas, which made it more entertaining than necessary.
“It’s huge. Eric Kendricks, linebacker, said that it is good to know that when we are against the wall, or when it’s tight like this, our backs are against the wall, we can pull through.”
Sunday’s win was a huge day for the Vikings’ special team unit. Joseph was 5-for-5 on field goals, despite missing an additional point. Jalen Nwangwu and Kene Reagor had long returns. Punter Ryan Wright made a perfect throw on fake punts for a first down. Kris Boyd forced and recovered an extra point.
In the first quarter, the Vikings lost safety Lewis Cine to a serious-looking leg injury. This happened just as the rookie was beginning to take defensive snaps. His rookie season may be ending in less than four games.
Cine was forced to be taken off the London field during the first quarter. Cine was returning to Jalen Reagor’s block on a punt return when his left leg became caught on the ground while he was going to the ground.
Cine fell immediately, grabbing his left foot and in great pain. Cine was placed on a cart and had an air cast applied to his leg. Cine was immediately removed from the game and was reported by the NFL Network that he was taken to a London hospital. Kevin O’Connell, the Vikings coach, stated that he had a lower leg injury after the win and will be staying in London for surgery. Officials from the team will assist him in his return to Minnesota.
Cine was drafted by the Vikings with their April first-round pick.
Although it wasn’t pretty, the Vikings have left London 3-1 to return home to face the Chicago Bears next Sunday.
These guys can come together when they need to. We rely heavily on our leadership and rely on men to play big roles in important moments. Even when things go wrong, there isn’t a moment of hesitation. O’Connell stated that the expectation was high.