The Minnesota Vikings, who are never short on entertainment, defeated the New Orleans Saints 28-25 on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur, and they will return to Minnesota 3-1 from London.
With 24 seconds left, the Vikings took the lead thanks to Greg Joseph’s fifth field goal of the game from 47 yards out. Will Lutz attempted to force overtime with a 61-yard field goal. Minutes earlier, Lutz had scored from a career-long 60 yards, but his attempt clanged off the left upright, then the crossbar, and was unsuccessful.
“I knew it was going in as soon as he hit it. He hit them both as cleanly as they come, I told him after the game. I had the impression that it stood a very high chance of succeeding. I believed it was going in when it left his foot. Fortunately, it did not “Kevin O’Connell, the Vikings’ coach, remarked.
Although the Vikings’ victory was unpleasant, their flight home was much more enjoyable. Last week, the Vikings had to overcome a 24-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Lions 28-24. They led by 16-7 after three quarters on Sunday, fell down 22-19 in the fourth, but rallied to win.
A fairly poor day for the Vikings’ offence and a challenging second half for the defence are partially obscured by the victory. Justin Jefferson had 10 catches for 147 yards and a short rushing touchdown, giving the Vikings a 25-22 lead with 4:15 remaining after getting only nine receptions in the previous two games combined.
Kirk Cousins’ 39-yard grab from Jefferson, which led to Joseph’s eventual game-winning field goal, was the game’s biggest play. Cousins completed 25 of his 38 passes for 273 yards, one touchdown, and one interception for the day. Additionally, three of the Vikings’ drives in the end zone resulted in Joseph field goals rather than touchdowns. Dalvin Cook had 20 carries for 76 yards while Adam Thielen had eight receptions for 72 yards. On the day, Alexander Mattison only made one reception, but it resulted in a 15-yard touchdown on a screen early on.
There were several crucial instances where, perhaps, there were opportunities for seven instead of three, and if we took advantage of those, it might not have been as close in the end, according to O’Connell. We’ve played four games so far, and there are plenty of chances for me to coach more effectively. I realise that’s not always the simplest thing to hear.
The Saints made it interesting by scoring twice to go up 22-19 with 9:29 remaining after the Vikings had a 16-7 lead in the second half. When Latavius Murray scored from one yard out, the Saints were only down 16-14. In the fourth quarter, Taysom Hill scored a short touchdown to give them the lead.
The defence of Minnesota allowed 338 total yards, 111 of which came on the ground, and allowed Andy Dalton to throw for 236 yards and a score. The Saints were without five players due to injury, including Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara. This made the game more interesting than it needed to be.
“It’s tremendous. It’s comforting to know that even with the odds stacked against us, we can win this tight game while travelling to London “Eric Kendricks, a linebacker, remarked.
In Sunday’s victory, the Vikings’ special teams had a strong day. Despite failing to convert an extra point, Joseph was 5-for-5 on field goals. The punter Ryan Wright had a great throw on a fake punt for a first down, Jalen Reagor and Kene Nwangwu each had long returns, and Kris Boyd caused and recovered a fumble on a punt.
Just as the youngster was beginning to receive defensive snaps, the Vikings lost safety Lewis Cine in the first quarter to what appeared to be a horrific leg injury. His rookie year might already be ended after fewer than four games, it seems.
In London, Cine had to be carried off the field during the opening frame. On a punt return, he was running back to block for Jalen Reagor when his left leg looked to get snagged on the ground.
Cine immediately collapsed, clutching his left leg, in excruciating pain. Cine was placed on a trolley with an air cast on his leg as players from both teams took a knee. Cine was transferred to a London hospital for additional evaluation after being immediately ruled out of the game, according to the NFL Network broadcast. Kevin O’Connell, coach of the Vikings, revealed following the victory that he had a lower leg fracture and will remain in London for surgery. Officials from the team will assist him in returning to Minnesota.
Cine, a safety out of Georgia, was selected by the Vikings in the first round back in April.
Although it wasn’t pretty, the Vikings won 3-1 and will host the Chicago Bears the following Sunday when they return home.
“These people have the ability to band together when necessary. We rely heavily on our own leadership and the ability of our players to step up in crucial situations. But even when things don’t go well for us, there’s never even a hint of a flinch. Here, there is a high bar of expectation, “added O’Connell.