NEW ORLEANS — On the afternoon he put an finish to the big-game narrative that has hung over him all through his NFL profession, quarterback Kirk Cousins led the Minnesota Vikings to their first highway playoff victory since 2004 with a 26-20 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Persevering with the development of shut video games with loopy finishes throughout wild-card weekend, the Vikings punched their ticket to the divisional spherical in time beyond regulation when Cousins linked with tight finish Kyle Rudolph for a Four-yard landing on third down. That is the primary wild-card weekend that featured three video games inside three factors within the closing two minutes of regulation since 2013.

It was essentially the most unanticipated win for the Vikings since they beat the Inexperienced Bay Packers throughout the 2004 wild-card spherical. The Saints have been favored to win Sunday’s sport by a landing.

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Cousins gained the primary playoff sport of his profession after finishing Four of 5 passing makes an attempt for 63 yards and a landing on the Vikings’ time beyond regulation drive. The quarterback hit 4 totally different receivers on the game-winning drive: Dalvin Cook dinner, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Rudolph.

Cousins’ game-winning TD to Rudolph was thrown below duress. He had just one passing landing below strain all season previous to that throw on 99 makes an attempt.

Cousins’ 43-yard cross to Thielen that bought the Vikings down inside New Orleans’ 2-yard line carried essentially the most air yards on a completion (40) since Cousins joined the Vikings in 2018. Cousins completed with a 96.Four passer ranking, finishing 19 of 31 makes an attempt for 242 yards and a landing.

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Cook dinner, who returned to motion for the primary time since injuring his shoulder in Los Angeles, sparked Minnesota’s offense with 94 yards speeding and two touchdowns.

The Vikings now head to San Francisco for his or her divisional-round matchup with the 49ers at Four:35 p.m. ET on Saturday. San Francisco opened as a 7-point favourite over Minnesota at Caesars Sportsbook.