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The story behind Kirk Cousins’ perfect 43-yard pass to Adam Thielen that sunk the Saints

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Redemption came tumbling out of the sky, a perfect rainbow ticketed for his outstretched hands, and all Adam Thielen had to do was catch it.

It was overtime Sunday in the Superdome. The Minnesota Vikings had squandered a 10-point fourth-quarter lead but won the coin toss, and they needed a touchdown to end the New Orleans Saints’ season without Drew Brees getting to take another snap. In the huddle, Kirk Cousins called a far cross, and Thielen lined up wide to the right.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

By this point, the first quarter was a distant memory, and for Thielen that was a good thing. He’d started the game miserably, fumbling away the ball on the Vikings’ first drive and setting up the Saints for an early 3-0 lead. When he got back to the sideline, he made a motion with his hand that simulated flushing a toilet.5

“Just flush that play away,” Thielen said. “It’s actually something from college, our coaches used to make us do — flush the bad play. We actually had a little mini toilet on the sideline and we’d have to go over and flush it. So that’s where that came from.”

The techniques of the Minnesota State-Mankato coaching staff having aided his mental recovery, Thielen was in pretty good psychological shape by the time the Vikings broke the huddle in overtime. He had caught six passes for 86 yards and helped the Vikings build a 20-10 lead of which they needed every bit just to get to this point. So when Cousins called the play, he bounced out to his position wide to the right.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“That play, it’s something we haven’t tried in a long time,” Thielen said. “We’ve been practicing it, but I never thought we’d use it there.”

Fair enough. Lined up across from Thielen was Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson, in the game in place of an injured Marshon Lattimore, who’d been shadowing Thielen for much of the game. This did not escape the attention of the Vikings. There was a single safety playing the post — Marcus Williams, of all people, Ghost of Vikings-Saints Playoff Game Past — and on the left side, Stefon Diggs was lined up against Janoris Jenkins. Two safeties — Vonn Bell and C.J. Gardner-Johnson — were in the box. Cousins, under center, called for the snap.

“All I know is, I had a one-on-one,” said Vikings right tackle Brian O’Neill, whose terrifyingly difficult assignment on the play was to block Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan. “I was just trying to hold on for dear life.”

As Cousins dropped back, O’Neill managed to keep Jordan just far enough wide. Gardner-Johnson blitzed. Bell hung briefly with tight end Kyle Rudolph, then passed him off to a linebacker and went in after Cousins. Williams moved to his right to help on Diggs, and that’s when Cousins saw what was going on deep down the right sideline.

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