Minneapolis - The Minnesota Vikings dominated the first half and seized a 17-0 lead over the New Orleans Saints in a divisional playoff game Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings scored on three of their first four possessions and forced the Saints into back-to-back three-and-outs to open the game and also picked off quarterback Drew Brees on a deep pass intended for Ted Ginn Jr. The Saints had just 33 yards of offense in the opening quarter and were 0 for 4 on third down for the half.
The Vikings scored on a 14-yard run by Jerick McKinnon, a 20-yard Kai Forbath field goal and a 1-yard run by Latavius Murray.
The Saints best scoring chance was wiped out when Brees had his pass tipped and then intercepted by Anthony Barr near the goal line with 5:32 left in the half. Earlier, Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo made a diving interception of a Brees pass.
The Saints were hurt by six penalties for 92 yards, including two pass interference penalties on cornerback Ken Crawley that netted the Vikings 54 yards.
It appeared Saints punter Thomas Morstead was injured making a tackle in the first quarter but he remained in the game. The Vikings lost Shemar Stephen to a knee injury in the second quarter.
The winner of Sunday's game will play the Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) next Sunday at 5:40 p.m. in the NFC Championship Game.
New Orleans Saints key stats
Drew Brees, 8 of 18 for 117 yards with two interceptions
Mark Ingram II, seven carries for 22 yards
Michael Thomas, two catches for 31 yards
Minnesota Vikings key stats
Case Keenum, 12 of 18 for 113 yards
Latavius Murray, 11 carries for 31 yards and one TD
Adam Thielen, three catches for 35 yards