The Vikings’ season was over. With Minnesota stranded on its own 39-yard line with a 24-23 deficit, 10 seconds left, and no timeouts, everyone had written off the Vikings’ chance to be the first team to ever play a Super Bowl at home.
Then this happened.
Case Keenum desperately needed to put the team in field goal position with a pass to the sidelines. He hit Stefon Diggs at the 35-yard line as Saints safety Marcus Williams whiffed trying to take out his legs. Diggs nearly fell down, but then put a hand out to stop himself and galloped the final 30 yards for the buzzer-beating touchdown and the 29-24 victory.
Marcus Williams, what is you doing?!?!?! pic.twitter.com/alpA0nnSrs— The Ledge (@TheLedgeSports) January 15, 2018
It’s the only (non-overtime) walk-off touchdown in NFL playoff history, and everyone lost their damn minds.
Diggs was a beautiful mess after the game.
"Damn that s--- feel good" - Stefon Diggs— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 15, 2018
“I still don’t know what just happened,” Diggs said. “I really don’t. All I can say is, give it to God. Because without him, nothing is possible, and I wouldn’t be here, so … damn, that shit felt good!”
Keenum said in his postgame interview with Fox’s Chris Myers that he was just trying to get a chunk of yardage, but was at a loss for words describing the final play of the game.
“With the last play, I don’t even know what just happened, man,” Keenum said. “It’s crazy. I don’t even know right now. I have no words.”
The only words that matter right now are these: The Vikings are two games away from Bringing It Home.
It’s a shocking departure from their miserable playoff history. In the 1998 NFC championship game, the 15-1 Vikings lost after their kicker, who was 35-of-35 on field goals that season, missed a 38-yarder that would have sealed the game. In the wild-card round after the 2015 season, Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard chip shot that would have given the Vikings the lead with 26 seconds left. So when Kai Forbath lined up for a 53-yard field goal attempt with the Vikings trailing 21-20 with 1:34 left in the game, sphincters across the 10,000 lakes instinctively tightened. He nailed the kick, but it was the Vikings’ vaunted defense that let Minnesota down this time––until the Saints inexplicably played light coverage, Williams botched the tackle, and Diggs pulled off the impossible.
Diggs was asked in his postgame press conference if he had ever had a play turn out like that in practice.
There’s a first time for everything, and now the Vikings are one win away from a home Super Bowl. Once plagued by a cursed playoff history, Minnesota is now smiled upon by the Norse gods.