With a mere 10 seconds on the clock and the Vikings at least 20 yards away from field goal range, it looked like another brutal playoff disappointment was in order for Minnesota fans.
After jumping out to a 17-0 lead over the Saints in the first half of their NFC divisional round playoff game Sunday, the Vikings struggled through a second half offensive onslaught from Drew Brees and company and found themselves trailing 24-23.
With hope dwindling away and most Vikings fans likely resigning themselves to yet another playoff heartbreak, quarterback Case Keenum delivered a moment that will be remembered in NFL history for a long time.
Keenum, a journeyman who was the punchline of many jokes before this season, hit receiver Stefon Diggs along the sideline in Saints territory. A shoddy bit of tackling by the New Orleans secondary allowed Diggs to break free and score a game-winning touchdown as time expired.
61 YARDS ?
FOR. THE. WIN.
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) January 15, 2018
The play instantly became one of the greatest moments in Vikings history and, without a doubt, Case Keenum’s career. When interviewed by Fox after the game, Keenum confirmed that it was in fact the best moment of his football career, but not his life.
“This is probably going to go down as the third best moment of my life,” Keenum told a national television audience.
“Behind giving my life to Jesus Christ and marrying my wife,” the former undrafted free agent explained.
This was perhaps the most public expression of his faith Keenum has made, but it certainly isn’t the first time he’s gone on the record about Jesus.
At the beginning of this season, Keenum told the Pioneer Press that an injury suffered in college played a major role in shaping his Christian faith.
“You just realize that football is fickle; it’s not going to be there all the time. Just getting my priorities straight and knowing the true reason I play the game, and that’s to give glory to God. That’s something I take pride in. It’s why I do what I do,” Keenum said, referring to tearing his ACL early in his senior year at University of Houston.
“That’s why I became a Christian — being around Christian athletes through FCA [Fellowship of Christian Athletes]. I’m not playing for the name on the back of my jersey, I’m playing to glorify God. He’s given me talents, and I’m trying to maximize those talents however I can.”
In 2010, Keenum shared his testimony at Westbury Baptist Church in Houston.
The Vikings will now face the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game Jan. 21. Under center for the Eagles will be Nick Foles, another devout Christian.
When it’s all said and done, one of them will be moving on to the Super Bowl, something absolutely no one predicted six months ago.
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