Vikings hang on for 28-25 win over Saints in London
Greg Joseph kicked a 47-yard field goal with 24 seconds left and the Minnesota Vikings hung on for a 28-25 win over New Orleans on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when the Saints’ Wil Lutz’s 61-yard tying attempt hit the left upright and then the crossbar as time expired.
Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson beat Marshon Lattimore on a 39-yard reception to set up Joseph’s go-ahead kick — after the kicker had missed an extra point earlier in the quarter.
The missed kick left the Vikings with a 25-22 lead.
The Saints then had an eight-play drive and Lutz made a 60-yard field goal with 1:51 left to tie the game for the Saints (1-3), who have lost three straight games. But Lutz’s next attempt was just a little bit off.
Jefferson had 10 receptions for 147 yards and ran for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter for the Vikings (3-1).
The Vikings squandered multiple scoring chances, settling for field goals — Joseph was 5 for 5 — but still held off a New Orleans team that played without key starters including quarterback Jameis Winston and running back Alvin Kamara.
Kirk Cousins completed 25 of 38 passes for 273 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Vikings under first-year coach Kevin O’Connell are off to their best start since going 4-0 in 2016.
The Saints arrived early in the week to acclimate to the time difference, but in the end it didn’t matter and their losing streak is now at three games under coach Dennis Allen.
Down 16-7, Saints backup quarterback Andy Dalton led two scoring drives to help New Orleans take 22-19 lead.
Saints tight end/quarterback Taysom Hill took a direct snap and ran it in from 2 yards for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter and Dalton found a wide-open Jarvis Landry for the 2-point conversion to give the Saints a 22-19 lead.
Dalton completed 20 of 28 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown.
After the Saints rallied and cut Minnesota’s lead to 16-14 on Latavius Murray’s 1-yard run late in the third quarter, the Vikings drove again but an intentional grounding and false start pushed them back and Joseph made it 19-14 with a 46-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings led 13-7 and had first-and-goal on the 3 after Justin Jefferson’s 41-yard reception in the third quarter, but were pushed back by a delay of game penalty. Cousins then threw short to Adam Thielen instead of going to a wide-open Jefferson in the back of the end zone.
One play earlier, Cousins threw behind Jefferson in the end zone and the receiver couldn’t hold on.
The Vikings were in control early. Alexander Mattison weaved through traffic for a 15-yard touchdown reception on Minnesota’s opening drive during which the Vikings were 3 for 3 on third down.
The Saints had no first downs in the first quarter, but got help when safety Tyrann Mathieu intercepted a long pass intended for Irv Smith Jr.
Dalton then drove the Saints 60 yards and found Chris Olave for a 4-yard touchdown pass — the rookie’s first NFL touchdown — to make it 7-7 early in the second quarter.
The Vikings squandered two good opportunities deep in Saints territory late in the second quarter. Tight end Johnny Mundt dropped a short pass on a third-and-1 from the 10 and Minnesota opted for a field goal instead of going for it.
On the next possession, Dalton fumbled on a strip-sack by Za’Darius Smith and Dalvin Tomlinson. Harrison Phillips recovered to set up the Vikings from the Saints 20 with just under a minute in the half and three timeouts.
After a completion for no gain, they didn’t use a timeout, had an incompletion and then a false start penalty. Joseph then kicked a 36-yard field goal and the Vikings went into the half with a 13-7 lead.
The Saints were also without wide receiver Michael Thomas.
GOOD LUCK IN LONDON
The Vikings improved to 3-0 in London games — with wins in three different stadiums. The Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 in 2013 at Wembley Stadium and topped the Cleveland Browns 33-16 four years later at Twickenham Stadium.
Drew Brees led the Saints to two victories — in 2008 and 2017 — both at Wembley Stadium.
This was the fifth NFL game at Tottenham, the Premier League club’s stadium that cost more than $1 billion to build and opened in 2019.
Vikings rookie Lewis Cine was carted off the field with a leg injury late in the first quarter. He was blocking on a punt return when he sustained the injury. Cine clutched his left leg as he went down. The Vikings immediately ruled him out. … DL Carl Granderson was ruled out at halftime.
Vikings: Host NFC North-rival Chicago Bears next Sunday; their bye is in Week 7.
Saints: Host the Seattle Seahawks in the first of back-to-back games at the Superdome.