John Shipley / St. Paul Pioneer Press
PHILADELPHIA — Now we know, even miracle momentum has trouble carrying. The Vikings might have swept into the NFC championship game on the wings of a last-second touchdown reception in the divisional playoffs, but it had no effect in Sunday's 38-7 loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Even a 75-yard scoring drive on the first possession of the game withered on the vine for the Vikings, who gave up the next 38 points in their worst playoff loss since a 41-0 setback against the New York Giants in January 2001.
PHILADELPHIA — And so the darkness of another long winter settles on Minnesota. It has taken longer than usual, but it arrives nonetheless. The Vikings are done, and reality has swept in like a bracing slap to the face. So close, again. As the broken bard of Minnesota once sang, "I can live without your touch, but I'll die within your reach."
MINNEAPOLIS — The last Rams team to play in St. Louis had a Super Bowl quarterback on the roster and, in fact, he started 11 games. Or five games. It depends on whether the Vikings or Eagles win Sunday's NFC championship game in Philadelphia.
MINNEAPOLIS — Move over, Drew Pearson, there's a new Hail Mary in town, and this one will be remembered here for all the right reasons. Stefon Diggs' 61-yard touchdown reception as time expired Sunday night was the shocker to beat all others as the Vikings finally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in an NFL playoff game, a 29-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium that might have been the shock to the system this franchise needed.
MINNEAPOLIS — Brad Childress announced this week that he will retire almost exactly eight years after being elected to his first term as Minnesota's governor and ending an unprecedented run of health and happiness in his adopted home state. "It's time," said Childress, elected in a landslide a year after leading the Vikings to victory in Super Bowl XLIV. "I've been blessed, and it's time for new blood in Minnesota state politics."
MINNEAPOLIS—I've always had a soft spot for Matt Millen. He was a largely lousy executive for the Lions and has said some questionable things in front of hot mics, but the former Pro Bowl linebacker also punched Patriots general manager Pat Sullivan in the face after his Raiders lost to New England in the 1985 playoffs. He had me at "Bam!" It was untoward, uncivilized and, frankly, illegal, yet even in retrospect seems like the reasonable thing to do. It was another time and place in the NFL, and if you were around for it, you likely miss it.
MINNEAPOLIS — In the Vikings' locker room Thursday, Jan. 11, defensive players were rousting teammates to their next meeting. The topic: third down. Clearly, they've been doing their homework. The Vikings (13-3) enter Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints with the best third-down defense in the NFL, allowing conversions to a new set of downs 25.2 percent of the time in 16 regular-season games. That is the NFL's best third-down defense in several years, dating at least back to 2002, according to statistics compiled by ESPN.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings already had played every possible opponent in Sunday's NFC division playoff game this season and got the one they probably know the least about. Not only did the Vikings play the Saints way back in their Sept. 11 opener, New Orleans will have an entirely different running game in Sunday's 3:40 p.m. kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium. And this time it's a good one.
MINNEAPOLIS — Gophers basketball player Reggie Lynch has appealed a long suspension handed down Thursday, Jan. 4, by a university panel but faces a potentially long process that could mean he has played his last game for the University of Minnesota. Found responsible for violating the U's rules on sexual misconduct, Lynch, 23, is suspended from athletic competition but still a part of the basketball program and practicing with the team, athletics director Mark Coyle said Friday. He missed Saturday's 75-71 loss to Indiana at Williams Arena.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — It's not that the Vikings don't want to pick up some intel on their playoff opponent while watching them play this weekend. It's they really can't. "It's hard, it's really hard," all-pro receiver Adam Thielen said this week. "I've tried it." One of four NFC teams playing this weekend will be the Vikings' first-round playoff opponent in a 3:40 kickoff on Jan. 14 at U.S. Bank Stadium, and they won't need the NFL Sunday Ticket to watch them.