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Vikings Top Saints 29-24 on 61-Yard TD on Final Play

MINNEAPOLIS — Case Keenum heaved a prayer.

Stefon Diggs more than answered.

In the form of a leaping catch, miraculous footwork on the sideline and a 61-yard walk-off touchdown as time expired, lifting Minnesota to a 29-24 victory over New Orleans on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" blared, and the Vikings obliged streaming down the sideline to mob Diggs and into the NFC Championship.

Keenum ran to everyone and everywhere in enthusiasm as the robust crowd roared from the frenzied ending to the first playoff game hosted by the venue.

Officials reviewed the play and confirmed the call, then had media clear the field and Saints players return from the locker room for Minnesota to attempt the point after touchdown.

That was merely a formality, with the Vikings lining up in the well-deserved victory formation.

Now, Minnesota will visit No. 1 seed Philadelphia for the right to play in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.

The Saints took a 24-23 lead with :25 remaining on a 43-yard field goal by Wil Lutz after converting a fourth-and-10 with a 14-yard pass from Drew Brees to Willie Snead.

Lutz's field goal answered a 53-yarder by Kai Forbath that had given Minnesota a 23-21 lead with 1:29 remaining.

Keenum completed passes to Adam Thielen for 24 yards on a second-and-10 and to Kyle Rudolph for 5 on second-and-10 to move the Vikings within Forbath's range less than two minutes after New Orleans took its first lead of the game.

George Johnson blocked a punt that Gerald Hodges recovered at the Minnesota 40-yard line, and Drew Brees completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Alvin Kamara four plays later to give the Saints a 21-20 lead with 3:01 remaining.

Keenum finished 25-of-40 passing for 318 yards, with the touchdown to Diggs and an interception for a rating of 85.2.

Diggs totaled 137 yards on six catches, and Thielen added 74 yards on six receptions.

The Vikings defense got off to a hot start, limiting Brees to 8-of-18 passing for 117 yards. Minnesota intercepted him twice in the first half and limited the future Hall of Fame QB to a passer rating of 26.6.

Brees, however, bounced back and finished 25-of-40 for 294 yards with three touchdown passes (all in the second half).

On the opening possession, the Vikings were able to force a quick three-and-punt by the Saints.

Marcus Sherels returned the punt 19 yards to the Minnesota 45, and the Vikings established the run early with three consecutive runs by Latavius Murray, including a grinder on third-and-1.

The Vikings also converted a third-and-3 with a 22-yard pass to Jarius Wright.

After another run by Murray, the Vikings cleared the "Jet" for takeoff. Jerick McKinnon found ample running room on a toss, thanks to a lead block by Riley Reiff, for the 14-yard touchdown.

The Vikings added a 20-yard field goal on their second possession after driving 79 yards, which included 54 penalty yards on back-to-back pass interference penalties on Ken Crawley.

The second infraction on Crawley placed the ball at the New Orleans 6, but the Vikings had a pair of incompletions bookend a 5-yard run by Murray.

Minnesota stuffed New Orleans on third-and-1 on the next series when Eric Kendricks and Andrew Sendejo stopped Mark Ingram for no gain.

The Vikings went three-and-punt for the first time, but Sendejo intercepted Brees on the Saints next play, making a diving grab at the Minnesota 42.

The offense responded with a 58-yard scoring drive that lasted 12 plays and 6:08. Keenum converted third-and-8 with an 11-yard completion to Thielen, and the offense overcame a holding penalty that negated a 13-yard touchdown by Murray.

Keenum turned a second-and-16 into a third-and-8 with a pass to Rudolph and then made some of his magic happen. With just a three-man rush by New Orleans, Keenum used extra time, and Diggs worked his way back from the end zone to secure a catch at the 4 for a gain of 11.

Murray pounded the ball across the goal line three plays later from a yard out.

The Saints tried to respond on the following possession, getting gains of 11 with a pass to Michael Thomas, 22 on a well-timed TE screen to Josh Hill and 19 to Kamara. On second-and-9 from the Minnesota 14, however, Griffen batted a ball at the line of scrimmage, and it fluttered smoothly to Anthony Barr.

Barr returned the interception 18 yards before he was brought down by a horse-collar tackle by Terron Armstead.

New Orleans forced a punt on Minnesota's next possession but had to settle for a 58-yard field goal attempt after Harrison Smith sacked Drew Brees for a loss of 10. The kick by Wil Lutz was wide left and gave the ball to the Vikings with 21 seconds remaining in the first half.

Trey Hendrickson was flagged for roughing the passer on Minnesota's next play, moving the ball to the New Orleans 37, but Minnesota stalled at the 31, and a 49-yard field goal by Forbath was wide left.

New Orleans found the end zone with 1:18 left in the third quarter on a 14-yard pass from Brees to Thomas. The score occurred one play after officials initially flagged Thomas for a hit to the helmet of Sendejo, suffered a concussion.

Keenum was intercepted by Marcus Williams on the Vikings next snap, and the Saints took the ball at the Minnesota 30.

New Orleans scored six plays later on a 3-yard pass from Brees to Thomas to make it 17-14 with 13:09 left.

Minnesota responded with a 49-yard field goal by Forbath with 10:12 remaining. Keenum delivered a strike for a gain of 27 to Wright and then somehow avoided his knee touching the ground to throw an incompletion and prevent a sack. The catch by Wright and the avoidance of the sack were both unsuccessfully challenged by Saints Head Coach Sean Payton.

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Saints in the first-ever playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium

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