The Minnesota Vikings Are 3-1 After Their Trip to London


Will Schiffler, Editor

After a late-game comeback against the Detroit Lions, the Minnesota Vikings had a successful trip to Europe to compete against a depleted New Orleans Saints roster. The Saints went into the Sunday matchup against the Vikings in London with a record of 1-2 with many injuries. The Saints played Minnesota without three offensive weapons: Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas. On the Minnesota roster, Vikings had their safety, Harrison Smith, back in the lineup after being out with a concussion the previous week. Minnesota arrived in London on Thursday, giving players enough time to acclimate to the time-zone change before Sunday’s game, which kicked off at 8:30 AM central time. 

The Vikings received the opening kickoff, which sent their Kirk Cousins-led offense on the field, with Dalvin Cook back on the field after he left the game against the Lions with an apparent shoulder injury. Minnesota’s opening drive resulted in a 15-yard touchdown thrown to Alexander Mattison to give Minnesota a seven-point lead early in the first quarter. Following the Mattison touchdown, both teams’ defense looked impressive. The Saints had two three-and-outs when they had the ball, and the Vikings had a short drive result in a punt and an interception made by Super Bowl Champion Tyrann Mathieu. 

The Saints had a great field position to start their drive after the Mathieu interception, giving New Orleans the ball at their 40-yard line. Andy Dalton and the rest of the Saints’ offense marched down the field and ended up in Minnesota’s endzone resulting in a touchdown. The veteran quarterback Andy Dalton led the Saints on a 12-play, 60-yard touchdown finding the rookie wide receiver Chris Olave. The touchdown caught by Olave was the first touchdown he has scored in the NFL for the former Ohio State Buckeye. 

For the remainder of the first half, the Vikings were the only team to put any points on the board. Field goal kicker Greg Joseph kicked a 28-yard and 36-yard field goal to give Minnesota a 13-7 lead heading into the second half. 

The excellent defense provided by the Vikings continued in the third quarter, with another defensive stop causing the Saints to punt. Once the Vikings received the ball, they were shortly after forced to punt after a three-and-out, which resulted in a fumble by New Orleans’ punt returner. Minnesota recovered the muffed punt at New Orleans’ 44-yard line. Minnesota failed to have the turnover result in a touchdown and instead settled for a short field goal. 

After the impressive defense from the Saints and Vikings, the game turned into a high-scoring game. The Saints converted points on their next three drives, two of which were a touchdown. Taysom Hill and former Vikings running back Latavius Murray scored the touchdowns for the Saints tying up the game with 2 minutes remaining in the game. Kirk Cousins led Minnesota down the field to set up the game-leading field goal, with a couple of great plays made by Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook. Greg Joseph successfully made the 47-yard field goal to give Minnesota the lead with 24 seconds remaining in the game. 

With no timeouts and 24 seconds remaining in the game, the New Orleans Saints had to be very cautious with the clock to try and allow Will Lutz to tie the game. After two impressive passes thrown by Andy Dalton, the Saints were in field goal range, but still a very long kick. Will Lutz had the opportunity to force the game to overtime with a 61-yard field goal attempt. With a good snap and hold, the ball looked like it had enough to make it through the up-right until it hit the side of the goalpost and then the bottom bar, causing the ball not to enter the up-right. 

Minnesota was able to escape London with a 28-25 win, with impressive performances from Justin Jefferson, ten catches for 147-yards, Adam Thielen, eight catches for 72-yards, and Dalvin Cook, 20 carries for 76-yards. 

The Minnesota Vikings will be back in Minneapolis hosting division rival the Chicago Bears, who currently hold a record of 2-2. Minnesota still sits atop the NFC North with a 3-1 record, with the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Green Bay Packers, who are also 3-1.