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Vikings follies

The Minnesota Vikings have only themselves to blame for the fact they will not get the chance to become the first team ever to lose five Super Bowls. The Vikings killed themselves with turnovers in their 31-28 overtime loss to New Orleans in the NFC final Sunday. Just as mind boggling was their penalty for having 12 men in the huddle with 19 seconds left in regulation. It pushed them back 5 yards from the 33 to the Saints' 38. But the penalty came after a Vikings timeout. They had all the time they should have needed to get organized. Still, three debatable officials' calls aided the Saints on their winning field-goal drive in overtime. The Vikes were flagged for a pass interference call on linebacker Ben Leber. Then the Saints were given a first-down on a fourth-down run by Pierre Thomas in which the ball was knocked backward in his hands by a Viking defender after he leaped over the line of scrimmage. Then there was a close call on a reception by Robert Meachem that might have been trapped against the turf. The pass interference call was the worst of the three.

Did anyone think the Saints' three overtime plays in question were bad calls?

---Mark Gaughan


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