Minnesota Vikings London Game Highlights Evolving Rivalry

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The Minnesota Vikings will once again be taking on the global stage in 2022. The NFL recently announced the Vikings will face the New Orleans Saints in London as part of the NFL’s 2022 International Series.

The Vikings travel to London to face the Saints in Week 4 of the regular season. Originally, the NFL scheduled Week 4 in New Orleans. Now, the Vikings end the first quarter of the season in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium instead.

Minnesota will be taking on the global stage for the third time in franchise history, having played in London in 2013 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and later in 2017 against the Cleveland Browns. Both of those games resulted in the Vikings coming out victorious.

Following the Vikings successful bid in 2021 to land the United Kingdom as an international home marketing area, the team gained increased international support. In 2022, the Vikings will take the stage against a familiar opponent and one who has become a rival over the years.

Minnesota Vikings Game in London Highlights Evolving Rivalry Matchup

History of Vikings and Saints

Minnesota and New Orleans have faced off numerous times through the history of both franchises, but the rivalry between the two teams has evolved in recent years most notably in the postseason. Over the last decade, the Vikings and Saints have squared off in the playoffs a few different times. Fans remember many of those games as some of the all-time best postseason showdowns featuring instant memorable plays for both franchises.

One of the first examples of the entertaining matchups between the two sides came in the 2010 NFC Championship Game in New Orleans, with both teams meeting for a chance to advance to the Super Bowl. In that game, the Vikings had a strong grasp with a lead on the road before the Saints forced overtime and ultimately came out on top 31-28 in overtime to move on to play the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. Minnesota had costly turnovers down the stretch, notably a late-game interception from Brett Favre. That interception allowed New Orleans a chance to come out on top in the extra frame. Bountygate came to the forefront following that game, raising criticism towards the Saints for years to come.

Seven years later, in 2017, New Orleans traveled to Minnesota to face the Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round. Minnesota came out on top in the final seconds in what is now known as the “Minneapolis Miracle” game. In that contest, Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs hauled in a 27-yard touchdown reception with 25 seconds remaining in the game to lift the Vikings to a win over the Saints.

Most recently, in 2019, the two teams met in the NFC Playoffs, this time a Wild Card Game in New Orleans. In that matchup, the Saints forced overtime due to a last-second field goal, but the Vikings came out on top in thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Kyle Rudolph.

There have been some entertaining regular season games between the two sides as well, but the rivalry between Minnesota and New Orleans has mainly evolved due to the entertaining and thrilling matchups in the playoffs notably over the last decade-plus.

Early Look at the Game

As the 2022 season draws closer, it will be an interesting year for both the Vikings and Saints as they embark on new eras with new leadership at the helm. Minnesota and New Orleans both have new head coaches leading on the sidelines; two aspects key to watch early in the regular season.

First-year Head Coach Kevin O’Connell will lead the Vikings in 2022 after the young head coach left the Los Angeles Rams this off-season after winning a Super Bowl as offensive coordinator of the Rams. Minnesota is coming off of another disappointing season finishing with an 8-9 record, second place in the NFC North, and missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Vikings then decided to clean house with the firing of Head Coach Mike Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman.

Dennis Allen now leads the Saints after Sean Peyton left his role at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign. Last season, New Orleans concluded with a 9-8 record. They finished second in the NFC South while sitting on the outside of the postseason picture like Minnesota.

The Vikings feature similar player personnel in 2022 to the past few years. Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and company lead the offense and an average defense returns on the other side of the ball. The Saints will once again return a top-notch defense that will cause troubles for opposing offenses. Offensively, Jameis Winston leads the Saints at quarterback.

Minnesota and New Orleans should both see some level of improvement or at least similar performances in 2022. Those steady improvements should make a matchup between the two sides entertaining once again. But this year, that showdown will take place overseas in London. A global audience will enjoy what has become a fun, evolving rivalry between the Vikings and Saints.

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