The circumstances might have been drastically different, with last January’s clash between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings a divisional-round playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium and Sunday night’s rematch on the same field for the eighth game of the regular season.
Still, Saints players who were part of the postseason matchup had vivid memories — more like nightmares — about how it ended: with the Vikings connecting on a 61-yard, last-ditch touchdown pass on the game’s final play to win, 29-24.
‘We definitely felt what happened last year’
Cornerback J.P. Williams still carried that vision in his head, and Sunday night he and his teammates used it as fuel for their 30-20 triumph.
“I feel like, mentally, we were definitely focused, just knowing what type of game this was,” Williams told Zig Fracassi and Brad Hopkins on NFL Rewind. “And we definitely felt what happened last year, so we knew we were going to come locked in this week. And we know the team we’ve got this year and we knew we were going to get the win.”
‘It felt great to just see that end zone’
Williams made a big contribution with a 45-yard pick-six that gave the Saints a 27-13 late in the third quarter.
“It was man-to-man, I was on my man (Stefon Diggs), the guy ran across the field and then I saw the quarterback (Kirk Cousins) through the man,” Williams said. “He threw the ball, I think the receiver stopped. But I saw the ball, made the play on the ball and saw nothing but open field. It felt great to just see that end zone.”
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