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Vikings to Visit Saints for Rare Christmas Day Game


EAGAN, Minn. — New Orleans can get ready for another round of well-timed antics by Rudolph.

No, not the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Instead, it will be Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, whose 4-yard touchdown catch stunned the Saints in overtime of the Wild Card round of the NFC Playoffs in January.

Rudolph high-pointed the well-placed pass from Kirk Cousins to lift Minnesota to a 26-20 upset win in its first Vikings game on the 2020 calendar.

Now, the Vikings will return to New Orleans to close the calendar year for a Week 16 game on Christmas Day. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. for the Friday game that will be nationally televised by FOX.

The past two times the Vikings and Saints have met in the playoffs have yielded classics, and there could be quite a bit on the line for both in the penultimate week of the regular season.

"It will be fun going to New Orleans again," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said to "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen. "It seems like we've been down there quite a bit. We played them in the preseason last year, and then obviously the playoffs."

The head coach, who is preparing for his seventh season was less "Bah humbug!" about playing on Christmas than he was about a different kind of pattern that's become a Vikings tradition during his tenure.

He noted that the Vikings will be on the road again for a short week. Minnesota's Thursday Night Football game against Washington last season was the first short-week game hosted by the Vikings since Zimmer's hire in 2014.

"Christmas will be a little bit different, obviously, but the surprising thing is we've had one short [week] Thursday game at home in my, going on seven years now," Zimmer said. "We've only been able to have one, so I guess they're giving us an extra day by playing on Friday, but it happens to be on Christmas, and it's on the road."

It is one of four national telecasts on the Vikings 2020 NFL Schedule, which was announced by the team Thursday and will start by hosting Green Bay.

The other three games are as follows:

Week 5: At Seattle Seahawks on NBC's Sunday Night Football

Week 10: At Chicago Bears on ESPN's Monday Night Football

Week 11: Vs. Dallas Cowboys in 3:25 p.m. (CT) game on FOX

The Vikings also will have a nationally televised preseason game at Cleveland on Sunday, Aug. 30.

Minnesota's game at New Orleans is scheduled to be the fourth appearance by the Vikings on Christmas, which falls on a Friday this year. The team has played three previous games on Fridays.

Vikings history on Christmas Day

1971: Cowboys 20, Vikings 12 (Divisional round of NFC Playoffs)

1989: Vikings 29, Bengals 21 (first regular-season NFL game ever played on Christmas)

2005: Ravens 30, Vikings 23 (Week 16)

Vikings history in Friday games

Sept. 22, 1967: Rams 39, Vikings 3 in Los Angeles (Bud Grant's second game as head coach)

Dec. 31, 1993: Vikings 14, Redskins 9 in Minnesota (closed season with third consecutive win)

Dec. 24, 2004: Packers 34, Vikings 31 in Minnesota

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