It was an exciting and close match in London between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints that came down to the Kickers. Greg Joseph kicked the Vikings’ goalie from 47 yards with a lightning strike less than 30 seconds into the game to take a 28-25 lead. Will Lutz, who drilled 60 yards earlier in the fourth quarter, was tasked with doing so again from 61 yards from a tie in the final. His kick bounced off the upright as Minnesota survived for the win.
The Vikings had crucial turnarounds and strong special teams playing, including a successful false kick, but they gave themselves some extra pressure by not taking advantage of these plays through relegation. The dots on the board are important, but the difficulties in the red area are the reason why this was nail-biting when the Vikings would have easily escaped with it.
In the end, the Vikings did Just Enough, winning by bouncing the ball into the rolls.
The Vikings made a statement early on, going out and scoring a touchdown on their first drive. Quarterback Kirk Cousins found rhythm with early wide receivers, notably Adam Tillen, who was involved from the start, but critical dips by receivers caused the offense to constantly fight back.
The Saints had a completely opposite start to the London game, with two of the fifty-three players with quarterback Andy Dalton leading the attack on the injured James Winston. The Saints have the highest number of three teams in the league, and with quarterbacks out at the start and Alvin Camara as a late scratch, they had more hurdles to overcome.
The Saints Defense finally did something as time was running out in the first quarter, and it did so in a big way with Terran Mateo intercepting the Cousins.
The Saints were able to take advantage of picking and marched the rest of the field, turning their first touchdown in the game as well as placing their first points of the day. Chris Olaf’s four-yard reception greeted the Saints in the end zone.
From there, it was a story of field goals. The Vikings regained the lead after a 28-yard field goal from Joseph just over a minute before halftime. Then Minnesota forced another turn for the Saints to return, but once again could only get a field goal when disoriented.
The Vikings were creative in a fake kick, using the skills of high school quarterback Ryan Wright to complete a 13-yard pass to Thelin, but they only managed to get three points from the play.
The Saints got their first lead in the game, thanks to a Taysom Hill touchdown run and a successful two-point turn. The lead was short-lived, as Justin Jefferson responded with a touchdown of his own, but missing an extra point made it a three-point match.
It looked like this was going in overtime with a 60-yard field goal from Will Lutz going up to 25, but a Vikings field goal and a late game miss from Lutz gave Minnesota the win across the pond.
We will have more analysis later. Check below for a summary of all the action from the London match.
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