The Saints came back, twice. But that wasn’t enough to beat Case Keenum.
The Vikings beat the Saints 29-24 on a last-second touchdown pass, a 61-yard beauty from Keenum to Stefon Diggs which ruined a brilliant second half by Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his teammates.
The Vikings advance to next week’s NFC Championship Game at Philadelphia, with a chance to play the Super Bowl at home on the line.
The Saints had come back from a 17-0 deficit, and the Vikings hadn’t lost when leading by 10 or more since the start of the 2015 season (28-0). The way they did it was impressive, as the Vikings top-ranked defense held them in check throughout the first half. Brees hit rookie running back Alvin Kamara for a go-ahead touchdown, after Michael Thomas caught the first two.
But Vikings kicker Kai Forbath coolly responded with a 53-yard field goal to give the Vikings the lead back, only to see Brees even more coolly move them downfield for another go-ahead field goal.
After striking out three straight plays throwing at Xavier Rhodes, he converted a season-on-the-line fourth down pass to Willie Snead to get them into position for the Wil Lutz 43-yarder to go up 24-23. Brees finished the game 25-of-40 for 294 yards and three scores, balancing out the two interceptions he threw in the first half.
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum had one last shot, and he made the most of it. After floundering early in the drive, Keenum lofted the ball to Diggs, who ducked inside and took it the rest of the way.