(Reuters) – Kyle Rudolph caught a four-yard pass from Kirk Cousins in overtime and the Minnesota Vikings upset the New Orleans Saints 26-20 in a NFC wild card playoff game at New Orleans on Sunday.
Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) catches a pass for the winning touchdown over New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams (26) during overtime of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings, who were a touchdown underdog to the Saints, will play the top-seeded San Francisco 49ers in next weekend’s divisional round.
“Nobody gave us a chance to win here today except everybody in our organization,” Rudolph said after hauling in the third-down pass.
“They (the Saints) brought all pressure and Kirk made a great throw. I’m proud of Kirk, blocking out the noise and coming down here and playing huge all game.”
The often-criticised Cousins completed 19 of 31 passes for 242 yards and the touchdown. His 43-yard pass to Adam Thielen had put the Vikings in scoring position at the New Orleans 2.
Dalvin Cook rushed two touchdowns to spark the Vikings to a 20-10 lead before the Saints rallied with Wil Lutz’s 49-yard field goal with two seconds left in regulation, forcing overtime.
Cook, who rushed for 94 yards, had scoring runs of five and one yards, the first set up after New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was intercepted.
Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill set up a four-yard touchdown run by Alvin Kamara with a 50-yard pass in the second quarter to give New Orleans a 10-3 lead.
Hill then caught a 20-yard pass from Brees in the fourth quarter to bring New Orleans within 20-17.
Drees passed for 208 yards but along with his interception also had his first fumble of the season.
The loss was a bitter one for the Saints, who last season at home had lost to the Los Angeles Rams in overtime in the NFC conference championship.
The NFC South champions had gone 13-3 this year before being relegated to the wild card round.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; editing by Clare Fallon