The pre-game narrative between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings leading up to their storied playoff rematch had everything to do with the Black and Gold avenging the 2018 Minneapolis Miracle. But just because it would make for a good story doesn’t meant they were gonna write it.
Three-seed Saints hosting the six-seed Vikings in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs, New Orleans coming in with a 6-1 home record in the post-season under Sean Payton.
For the second time in three years, Minnesota is moving on and the Saints are going home by way of an agonizing 26-20 overtime defeat.
Heartbreak doesn’t have to be defined by a miracle or no-call for a 13-3 Saints team that really could have used that first-round bye. Instead this time, heartbreak is an overtime loss to the same Vikings team that put them out of the playoffs two years ago with the league’s all-time leading passer watching helplessly from the sidelines, rendering Taysom Hill’s second half takeover all for naught. “It’s as difficult as you can imagine. Certainly disappointed. We had a great season, great team and it hurts to go out like that,” said Hill.
Tight End Jared Cook said, “I haven’t been here the last three years. I really don’t know. I can’t feel the pain of the other guys in this locker room that have been here. All I can do is try to relate. But I know one doesn’t feel good.”
Head Coach Sean Payton said, “You tip your hats to Minnesota. They deserved to win. And it’s always difficult when it happens in the playoffs. You know there’s no follow-up game.”
Defensive End Cameron Jordan said, “We had larger dreams than this game. The season we put together had us poised to make a run to the playoffs. We get to the playoffs, and didn’t do exactly what we needed to do to win.”
Wide Receiver Ted Ginn Jr. said, “We’ve just got to go back and fight as a team. I mean that’s all we can really do. We fell short. We know why. We understand why. Only thing we’ve got to do is go back and work at the little things to make the bigger picture.”
Quarterback Drew Brees said, “You invest so much into it and have invested so much into it. And so you understand that these opportunities are few. So yeah, it’s disappointing. If you’re not the one holding up the trophy at the end of the year, it’s disappointing.”
In the end, it was too little, too late for a Saints team averaging 36 points over their last seven games coming into Sunday’s game only to muster up 20 against Minnesota.
Yet somehow, it’s still slightly better than the alternative of watching Stefon Diggs run free down the sideline, even though that’s hardly a consolation prize for yet another Super Bowl caliber Saints team eliminated too soon.
When asked about plans for the future, Brees says he is going to continue taking it one year at a time.