The New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings have a long history, and if you are a Saints fan it’s been a bitter history. Over the course of the two franchises’ histories they have met 35 times with the Vikings holding the edge with a staggering 23-12 advantage.
But as anyone who supports New Orleans knows, this rivalry goes far beyond the numbers, and even recently has become a heated rivalry between the two teams. While we could go all the way back to 1968 with the series, let’s begin with the 2009 season playoffs.
2009 NFC Championship Game
Most Saints fans know how this one ended. The Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson-led Vikings were the final obstacle in the way for the first Super Bowl appearance in Saints franchise history. Ultimately, New Orleans would come out victorious in overtime to the tune of 31-28, but the game was hard fought and victory never seemed inevitable. Most Saints fans remember the exact spot they were at when Garrett Hartley kicked the 40-yard field goal to send the team to Super Bowl XLIV.
This game is arguably the one that ignited the modern day rivalry between the two teams. More than just a Super Bowl run came out of this game as this matchup was heavily cited in the Bountygate incident. Many of the Minnesota players and coaches claimed that Saints players were intentionally trying to hurt Favre throughout the game.
Ultimately, New Orleans would be given some of, if not the harshest penalties in modern sports history for Bountygate.
2017 NFC Divisional Playoff Game
The 2017 season was incredibly odd for the Saints. New Orleans was just coming off of three 7-9 seasons in a row and they started 0-2 to start the season, it seemed like more of the same. Their first loss of the season was of course to Minnesota and their second was to the New England Patriots. Following those two losses the Saints would then go on to win eight-in-a-row and secure a playoff berth in which they would defeat the Carolina Panthers in the Wild Card round. Now, New Orleans was being talked about as potential Super Bowl contenders.
That is where the heartbreak would begin. New Orleans traveled to Minneapolis for the NFC Divisional Game to rematch the Vikings who had beat them in the first game of the season. For three quarters Minnesota played well and largely dictated the game. However, in the fourth quarter the Saints would rally back and kick the go-ahead field goal to make it 24-23.
With just 25-seconds left on the clock Vikings quarterback Case Keenum heaved it 27-yards to Stefon Diggs who made the catch but was surely going to be tackled by Saints free safety Marcus Williams. Instead, Williams whiffed the tackle and Diggs ran into the end zone to complete a 61-yard game-winning touchdown. The Saints season was over, and the play would forever be known as the ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ as well as one of the most depressing days in a New Orleans Saints fan’s life.
2019 NFC Wild Card Round
Once again, the 2019 season started with so much hope as the Saints would eventually secure a 13-3 record, but still have to play in the Wild Card round. Naturally, Minnesota was on the docket but this time New Orleans got to play at home.
This game ended up being pretty identical for both teams in both the passing and rushing games, with the Saints pass protection being the difference (largely). With the New Orleans interior line being ineffective, Brees was unable to lead the offense in the surgical manner they had become known for throughout the season.
Of course, this game would go to overtime and Minnesota would win the game on a controversial touchdown to Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. Once again, another season in which the Saints were seemingly Super Bowl favorites ended at the hands of the Vikings. It was just another drop in the bucket for what has now become a bitter rivalry.
2020 Christmas Day
We do not yet know what is in store for New Orleans on this Christmas Day. As of publication the game is just over seven hours away, but there is plenty on the line. The Saints have dropped two games in a row after winning nine straight, and a win today would mean the NFC South is once again the Saints. Additionally, it would guarantee New Orleans the third seed in the NFC at a minimum.
Yet, perhaps the biggest takeaway from a victory over the Vikings would be the vanquishing of demons that has haunted this Saints team for the last three years. It would also provide a massive morale boost to a squad who will already be low on playmakers on the offense and are looking for a spark to end the season. This is a must-win game for New Orleans.
No matter the case, let us at Canal Street Chronicles wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
How do you think the Saints stack up to the Vikings this Christmas Day? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @KadeKistner.