Turnovers kill Vikings as Saints advance to Miami

Excuse the borrowed analogy, but there’s no other way to describe what the Vikings did on Sunday night then to say that they shot themselves in the foot. (And repeatedly, might I add.)

The media is going to concentrate on Brett Favre’s interception in New Orleans territory with 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings turned the ball over five times in their 31-28 loss to the Saints in the NFC Championship Game. Favre’s interception was a horrid mistake that only most rookies make, but the fact of the matter is that the blame cannot be pinned on just one person. And truth be told, even if Favre threw that pass 12 rows deep into the stands, there’s no guarantee that Ryan Longwell would have made a 50-plus yard attempt on the next play.

The Vikings screwed the pooch tonight – plain and simple. That’s not to take anything away from the Saints because Drew Brees and company deserve the right to play in Miami in two weeks, but Minnesota blew several golden opportunities to put more points on the board. A team can’t turn the ball over five times (it could have been seven had they not recovered two Adrian Peterson fumbles) and expect to win. They just can’t.

But what doomed the Vikings more than anything tonight was when they were flagged for having too many men in the huddle on that third and 10 play from the Saints’ 33-yard line. Had they not gotten that penalty, there’s a good chance that Brad Childress would have called something safer (even if it were a pass play) and therefore Favre probably wouldn’t have gotten picked off while trying to make a play. For all their mistakes on the night, that 5-yard penalty may have been the reason they’re not heading to Miami in two weeks.

Getting back to the Saints, was anyone overly impressed with them tonight? I realize they scored 31 points and Brees threw three touchdowns, but I didn’t think they played a very crisp game. Their defense was shaky, some of the play calls and decisions by Sean Payton were questionable and their offense wasn’t as explosive as the 31 points would indicate. All in all, this wasn’t the best the Saints have played but they still managed to win, which I guess is saying something.

As for Super Bowl XLIV – I love the matchup. Two great quarterbacks and offenses will go toe to toe and either way, deserving men will win. These are two model organizations and unless you’re a Jets or Vikings fan, it’s kind of hard not to like the matchup.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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