Former Vikings receiver Jake Reed was right, and he was probably disappointed that he was.
Reed, who spent 10 years in the NFL with the Vikings and two with the New Orleans Saints, attended the NFC Championship Game and offered his keys for the game from the sideline.
"It's going to come down to big plays and who makes the (least amount) of turnovers," Reed said Sunday less than an hour before kickoff.
How right he was. The Vikings had five turnovers, killing their drives and giving the Saints more scoring opportunities, which they needed in a game that the Vikings out-produced them in most other categories.
Reed's pregame assessment stemmed from his own NFC Championship experience. The 1998 Vikings lost their shot to get to the Super Bowl when they had a key turnover – a fumble by quarterback Randall Cunningham – that Reed is convinced led to their demise.
"In this league, it only takes one play to turn around (a game)," he said. "In 1998 (during the NFC Championship Game), we fumbled right before halftime and it turned around the whole game. If we didn't have the fumble going into halftime, we would have had no problem and gone on to win the game."
Reed is still an avid Vikings fans, despite being eight years removed from playing for them. But he also knows the Saints well because his wife, Vinita, is from New Orleans and still follows them closely.
"I follow the Saints so much because we have a lot of Saints fans in my house because of my wife. So on Sunday I'm either watching the Saints or I'm watching the Vikings" he said.
"Both of them (Saints and Vikings) have good quarterbacks – good, veteran quarterbacks. They're not going to make a lot of mistakes. I think the line has to hold up for Brett Favre (and) he's going to make some plays. If it holds up for Drew Brees he's going to make some plays. So it will come down to who makes the less turnovers."
The Vikings' line didn't give up any sacks, but Favre took a beating Sunday night, which may have ended up limiting his effectiveness. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket after taking several big hits and threw two interceptions, including one at the end of regulation that kept the Vikings from attempting what could have been the game-winning field goal.
Instead, the interception would be Favre's last pass of the season, as the Saints took the opening drive of overtime and converted their game-winning field goal attempt.
Even so, Reed was happy to see Favre sign with the Vikings before the season began, although Reed admitted that it was strange seeing a player that was with the Green Bay Packers during Reed's career now wearing the purple of Favre's former rival.
"I was hoping he would sign, but it was just a little different seeing him in purple because I was so used to seeing him wearing green," Reed said. "It was just an adjustment for me and I know it was the same way for a lot of Vikings fans. We knew he could make plays and we knew it could come in handy for these young guys to be around him and go to the next level."
Unfortunately for Reed and other Vikings fans, that level was one or two steps short of their ultimate goals.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Reed's pregame analysis spot on
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