The "Minneapolis Miracle" almost never happened, former Vikings quarterback Case Keenum said earlier this week as he peeled back the curtain on one of the greatest recent moments in NFL postseason history.
At an event for Denver Broncos season ticket holders, Keenum revealed he had planned to throw the ball to Adam Thielen but, upon going through his reads, Keenum saw the Vikings' Pro Bowl receiver was no longer an option.
Keenum, who signed a two-year, $36 million deal with Denver in March, allowed Broncos fans to get inside the mind of a quarterback and ran the play -- officially called "Gun Buffalo Right Key Left 7 Heaven" -- via a whiteboard demonstration.
The "B" in "Buffalo" signified a bunch formation with three receivers -- Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Jarius Wright -- to the right of the quarterback, while Thielen lined up to Keenum's left as the X-receiver.
"He had more than his share of defenders," Keenum said of the Saints' coverage on Thielen. "I really wanted to throw to him but he was covered up."
To Keenum's right, Wright (the F-receiver) was at the point of attack, Rudolph was tasked with running a quick out while Diggs ran a high-angle "seven heaven" (corner route).
With no timeouts left and 10 seconds on the clock, Keenum broke the huddle by telling his teammates he was going to give one of them a chance. The quarterback described the level of fatigue around him given Minnesota had just run the same play moments before.
All of Keenum's receiving options had been instructed to get out of bounds as quickly as they could. Upon connecting with Diggs, Keenum described how Saints rookie safety Marcus Williams' botched tackle was the reason the receiver was able to find a clear route to the end zone.
"I just threw it to the sideline," Keenum said. "I remember I lost vision of him a little bit behind my right guard and I couldn't really see. I knew the ball came out of my hand really, really well. Sometimes it comes out good, and this came out great -- I knew it was right where I wanted to put it. But I couldn't see where Stefon was. And all of a sudden I see Stefon's hands, his white gloves, just coming out of nowhere, and I'm like, 'He's gonna catch this ball.' And he catches it.
"And I tell you, I've been in some loud stadiums, but ... they went crazy. I mean it was nuts. It was the loudest I've ever heard. I've been in Seattle, I've been in Kansas City, where they set the world record for loudest outdoor stadium, but it was loud. It was so loud."