When a game moves to the second half, much more pressure is put on the defense — both for the team that is ahead and the team that is trailing. The Saints were behind the entire game, but they were relentless in the second half — much like Houston was a week earlier. But this time the Vikings had an answer for every second-half score — even without playmaker Randy Moss — and created their own turning point of the game.
Early in the third quarter, the Vikings had built a 28-14 lead, but the Saints would not go away. It became obvious that the Vikings would have to match the Saints score for score to prevent another second-half comeback like the Texans mustered a week earlier.
After the Saints used a fake punt and a 53-yard run by Fred McAfee to cut the Vikings' lead to 28-21, Daunte Culpepper connected on passes of 28 yards to Nate Burleson and 22 yards to Jermaine Wiggins to get into scoring position. While the Vikings had to settle for a Morten Andersen field goal, it put their lead at 10 points at 31-21.
The Saints again got the deficit down to seven points when John Carney hit a 45-yard field goal, and the onus was back on the offense. Culpepper converted a pair of third downs and, thanks to a cheap shot from Tebucky Jones on Culpepper, got an extra set of downs — something defenses can't afford to give the Vikings. Culpepper made the Saints pay with a 1-yard TD pass to Marcus Robinson to build the lead back to 38-24 with 7:04 to play.
To their credit, the Saints kept marching down the field, as Brooks engineered an 11-play drive that ended with a 5-yard scramble for a touchdown to make the score 38-31 with 2:51 to play. And the Saints still had all three timeouts remaining.
Unlike the Texans game, in which the Vikings offense went three-and-out three times before winning in overtime, the offense in this game wouldn't stall. After running Mewelde Moore twice to burn two Saints timeouts, Culpepper completed a third-down pass to Burleson to move the sticks. Moe Williams followed with a 49-yard burst up the middle and, from there, Culpepper was able to take a knee to secure the win.
For the entire second half, the Saints were on the verge of making what looked to be a blowout a potential comeback. But following every score, the Vikings responded with points of their own and kept New Orleans at arm's length — creating an offensive turning point.
Turning Point: Second-Half Perfection
Viking Update Top Stories
Notebook: Problems extended beyond pass proThe Minnesota Vikings had obvious problems with pass protection, but there are other areas head coach Mike Zimmer is addressing, too.
Viking Update7:41 PM
Vikings will look at ‘all options’ to improveComing off a loss that Mike Zimmer termed “embarrassing,” a 21-10 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings will look at all options to rectify the situation.
Viking Update2:42 PM
VIDEO: Zimmer: 'This is a gut-check day'Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer recapped the first loss of the season by pointing out "several dumb things" he found to be uncharacteristic of his team.
Viking Update1:06 PM
Counting snaps: Vikings vs. EaglesDespite a “soft” performance on the offensive line, according to coach Mike Zimmer, the Minnesota Vikings seemed interested in getting a rotation going there.
Viking Update6:23 AM
Holler: R-E-L-A-XMike Zimmer wasn't kind in his assessment of the Minnesota Vikings Sunday following their humbling 21-10 loss to Philadelphia, but it isn't as though the season is going down the…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 10:11 PM