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Zulgad: How Stefon Diggs’ touchdown catch could end up redefining Vikings’ history

By Judd Zulgad

Five, 10 or 20 years from now it’s not going to matter.

Mention Stefon Diggs’ name to a Vikings fan and, if they saw Sunday’s win over New Orleans, their first thought is going to be the 61-yard catch the receiver made to give the Vikings that miraculous playoff victory as time expired. Diggs is destined to be remembered as the guy who went up to grab Case Keenum’s pass at the New Orleans’ 34-yard line and then took off for the end zone as delirious fans lost their minds.

The significance of that catch-and-run has moved it near the top of my list for the single-most memorable plays in Minnesota sports history. It was one of those moments where Vikings fans will be able to recall exactly where they were when Diggs made the grab, turned around and saw nothing but open field.

What’s interesting is that Vikings faithful can only hope Diggs’ catch changed the fortunes of the franchise. The Vikings ordinarily lose a game like the one on Sunday. Kai Forbath missed a field-goal attempt as halftime approached, Case Keenum threw a bad interception, Ryan Quigley had a punt blocked, the Vikings defense couldn’t hold the Saints on a late fourth down.

A 17-0 lead at halftime turned into a crazy back-and-forth match in which the Saints held a one-point lead with 25 seconds remaining.

All of this brought back the painful memories of Darrin Nelson’s failure to catch the pass in 1987; Gary Anderson’s missed field goal in 1998; Brett Favre’s interception in 2009; and Blair Walsh’s miss in 2015. And then Diggs caught the ball and that pain, at least temporarily, went away.

Despite the magnitude of Diggs’ catch, I still have one moment ahead of it. That would be Kirby Puckett’s home run in the bottom of the 11th inning in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. Puckett’s homer, and his phenomenal catch of Ron Gant’s drive to deep left-center in the third inning, played an enormous role in forcing one of the greatest Game 7s in World Series history.

However, Diggs’ touchdown reception could move past the Puckett home run if the Vikings can win two more games. They will face the Eagles in the NFC title game on Sunday in Philadelphia and then could become the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium if they beat the Eagles.

Two more victories would give the Vikings their first Super Bowl title and, suddenly, Diggs’ catch becomes a play that forever redefines how people think and feel about this franchise. The four Super Bowl losses, Nelson’s inability to catch the ball, the Anderson miss, the Favre pick, the Walsh miss all become distant and less painful memories.

It also means that 20 years from now when someone brings up Diggs’ name, the conversation would go beyond one playoff win and, instead, focus on how that play changed everything for the Vikings and their long-suffering fans. Any talk of a postseason curse involving the most popular sports franchise in this town would be forgotten.

And that would make the Keenum to Diggs play the most memorable moment in Minnesota sports.

The post Zulgad: How Stefon Diggs’ touchdown catch could end up redefining Vikings’ history appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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