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Kirk Cousins leads Vikings over the Saints in overtime

This time, the miracle might have been that the Vikings survived themselves.

After playing it safe heading into overtime, the Vikings ended the wild card game on the first possession, beating the Saints by making the biggest plays in the biggest moments.

Much-maligned (and often-deserved) Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins hit Adam Thielen for a 43-yard bomb, setting up a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph two plays later for the win.

The Vikings will now travel to face the 49ers next week in the divisional round.

It was a gratifying end for Cousins, on a day when their defense and running back Dalvin Cook did most of the heavy lifting.

Cook, who had missed the last two games of the regular season with a shoulder injury, returned to rush for 94 yards and two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, their defense made Saints quarterback Drew Brees an afterthought for large stretches of the game.

Brees struggled throughout the day, finishing with 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception. That forced the Saints to go to a heavier-than-normal dose of Taysom Hill, who responded. Hill threw a 50-yard pass, caught a touchdown, and had a number of impressive runs (and blocks) along the way.

They forced overtime as the Vikings played it safe, but Cousins never let them have the ball back in the extra session, quieting much of the criticism for a guy who has struggled in prime time and hadn’t won a playoff game.

Until today.

For the Saints, it was just their second home loss in the playoffs under coach Sean Payton, but their second in a row after last year’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Rams. It will also create questions about the future, with Brees about to turn 41.