Vikings aim to snap five-game skid in NFC Championship games

January, 20, 2018
Jan 20
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Mike Zimmer explains how important the fans have been all season for his team and what it would mean for him to bring them a Super Bowl trophy.
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Points will be at a premium in what should be a very physical NFC Championship Game between the Eagles and Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field.
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Football is the bond that holds the Kendricks family together, and it will remain so after brothers Mychal and Eric face off for the NFC championship.

METAIRIE, La. -- Sean Payton deserves a hearty "Skol" clap for his latest gesture.

The New Orleans Saints coach took a mocking offer of a free couch from a Minnesota furniture company (so he could watch Sunday's NFC Championship Game from home) and turned it into a positive with a $25,000 donation on Friday. He tweeted that the couch would be donated to Children's Minnesota.

Payton drew the ire of some Minnesota Vikings fans and some media members this week after he was caught making the Vikings' signature "Skol" clap gesture toward a group of fans before Minnesota came back with one of the most stunning last-second victories in NFL history.

Earlier this week, Payton said he was just having some "good playoff fun."

But his response on Friday was even more brilliant -- not only having some fun at his own expense but bringing even more attention to a fantastic charity cause that the two teams have been sharing in all week.

Thomas Morstead's "What You Give Will Grow" charity earned more than $200,000 in donations this week (even before Payton's contribution) after a Vikings fan suggested on social media that people should make donations to the Saints punter's charity as an appreciation for the way he played through torn cartilage in his ribs and even came out to line up as a defensive tackle on the final two-point conversion kneel-down at the end of the game.


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If Stefon Diggs' remarkable touchdown in last weekend's divisional-playoff game becomes part of all-time NFL lore, the Minnesota Vikings want to own it.

Or at least the name.

On Monday, the day after the remarkable 61-yard play that resulted in a five-point victory over the New Orleans Saints and a trip to the NFC Championship Game, the team filed for three trademarks to the phrase "Minneapolis Miracle" and one to "Minnesota Miracle."

The filings showed up Friday in electronic records published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Vikings seek to own the monikers on more than 100 items, including football helmets, watches, golf bags, bowling bags, bathing suits and parkas.

The team is selling a T-shirt with "Minneapolis Miracle 1-14-18." Diggs, with T-shirt seller Represent, began selling an NFLPA-licensed shirt with his image and the words "Minneapolis Miracle" on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 shirts were sold online within the first 48 hours.

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Vikings. Earlier this month, the team filed to trademark "Bring It Home," a phrase the Vikings started using when the playoffs began, a reference to the team trying to be the first to win the Super Bowl in its home stadium. The Vikings put "Bring It Home" towels on every seat for the game against the Saints.

The Vikings play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.


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Marcellus Wiley explains why he trusts Case Keenum over Nick Foles in the battle of the backup quarterbacks.

The Minnesota Vikings have designated Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen as questionable for Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. But indications are strong that Thielen will start, despite a lower back injury that cost him one day of practice this week and limited him for two others.

Safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion) is also listed as questionable. But Sendejo was a full participant in practice Friday and appears set to start as well. Sendejo still must formally be cleared by an independent neurologist via an exam that will take place no later than Saturday.

In other injury news, cornerback Mackensie Alexander did not practice Friday because of an illness and is listed as questionable. The Vikings also ruled out defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee). Stephen is likely the only player on the roster who won't be available for Sunday's game.

Meanwhile, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer would not say whether Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater would back up quarterback Case Keenum. Bradford took that role from Bridgewater for last week's divisional playoff round and is expected to do the same Sunday. Earlier this week, Zimmer left open the possibility that all three quarterbacks will be active.


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Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman debate Nick Foles' chances of blocking Case Keenum's road to the Super Bowl.
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Former Rams coach Jeff Fisher coached both Nick Foles and Case Keenum and he isn't shocked at all by their accomplishments.
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Blake Bortles has taken a lot of heat for his play this season, but a stout Jacksonville defense and a strong showing in the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots could have the Jaguars quarterback playing in the Super Bowl.

From draft afterthought to playoffs hero, Vikings' Stefon Diggs emerges

January, 19, 2018
Jan 19
8:55
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Stefon Diggs was a top recruit before college injuries took a toll. But he's fulfilled his potential, and then some, for the Vikings.
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Will the Jaguars give the Patriots a run for their money? Which backup QB will lead his team to the NFC title? ESPN's reporters make their picks.
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Ed Hochuli will ref his fourth Eagles playoff game since 1999, while Clete Blakeman will run the crew in Foxborough. Here's what to expect from both.
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Even with Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford healthy, the Vikings can't reject the QB who has them on the cusp of their first Super Bowl in 40 years.
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The career paths of Case Keenum and Nick Foles have crossed multiple times since they entered the NFL together. Take a look at the quarterbacks' journeys to Sunday's NFC title game.

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