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61 yard touchdown as time expires sends the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game

Stefon Diggs found the end zone in the most unlikely of circumstances.

New Orleans Saints 24 @ Minnesota Vikings 29

THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS’ quest to become the first team to play in a home Super Bowl remains alive after the most dramatic of finishes in Minneapolis last night put them in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.

Wil Lutz’s field goal with 29 seconds remaining looked to have given the Saints the win, but a whiffed tackle by Marcus Williams as time expired allowed Stefon Diggs find the end zone on a 61-yard pass from Case Keenum to give them a dramatic victory as time expired.

The home side went into the game as favourites, but few could have expected them to dominate the first half the way they did, racing into a 17 point lead and stopping Drew Brees from even crossing the half-way line until the mid-point of the second quarter.

The Vikings started in style, forcing a three-and-out on the Saints’ opening possession before quickly scoring themselves with Case Keenum finding Jarius Wright for a 22-yard gain to the 16 yard line before Jerick McKinnon walked in untouched for the game’s opening touchdown.

Source: UPI/PA Images

A pair of suspect pass interference calls set the Vikings up for an easy field goal to give them a 10-0 lead.

It was 17-0 midway through the second quarter when Latavius Murray scored from a yard out after Keenum hit Stefon Diggs for a huge third-down conversion at the 11 yard line.

A couple of missed field goals from Wil Lutz and Kai Forbath meant the Vikings maintained their 17 point lead and the Saints went in scoreless at half-time for just the fifth time since Brees took over as quarterback in 2006.

New Orleans finally managed to get on the scoreboard with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter when Brees found Michael Thomas in the endzone to reduce the gap to ten points.

The Saints had the ball back moments later when Keenum made a terrible throw under pressure that was picked off by Marcus Williams. Brees made them pay and, with 13 minutes to go in the game, he found Thomas again to reduce the gap to three points at 17-14.

On the next Minnesota drive, Saints’ head coach Sean Payton wasted two time outs incorrectly challenging plays and Forbath made amends for his earlier mistake to stretch his team’s lead to six points with 10 minutes remaining.

However, six minutes later, a blocked punt put the Saints in excellent field position and Brees delivered, finding Alvin Kamara with a perfect pass in the end zone to give New Orleans their first lead of the game, 21-20.

The Vikings drove the field on their next possession before being stalled outside the redzone, Forbath nailing a 53 yard kick with 90 seconds remaining to give his side a two point lead.

However, a crucial fourth down conversion from Brees to Willie Snead set up a 43-yard attempt with 29 seconds on the clock and Lutz sent his kick straight down the middle expecting to be the hero of the night.

Diggs though, had other plans.

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Steve O'Rourke

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