Vikings' top plays: Favre's interception

AP Photo/Bill Haber

This is the first of three plays nominated as the most memorable play in Vikings history. The others include Tommy Kramer's Hail Mary pass to Ahmad Rashad to beat the Cleveland Browns in the 1980 "Miracle at the Met" and Gary Anderson’s missed field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game. Please vote for your choice as the Vikings' most memorable play.

Score: Saints 31, Vikings 28

Date: Jan. 24, 2010 Site: Louisiana Superdome

The last pass Brett Favre ever threw in a playoff game -- an interception to Tracy Porter to cost the Vikings a chance at their first Super Bowl trip since 1977 -- might never have happened if not for the penalty the play before.

The Vikings were driving for what would have been a game-winning field goal and had called a timeout before huddling up on third-and-10 from the Saints' 33. Problem was, the Vikings had talked during the timeout about running the same play out of two different personnel groups, and fullback Naufahu Tahi got sent into the game as a 12th man in the Vikings' huddle. That resulted in a 5-yard penalty to push Minnesota back to the Saints' 38, forcing the Vikings to call a pass play to get back into Ryan Longwell's field goal range.

With 19 seconds left, Favre rolled to his right, but instead of hitting tight end Visanthe Shiancoe or wide receiver Bernard Berrian -- both were open on the play -- or trying to run for several yards, Favre threw across his body into coverage for Sidney Rice, and Porter stepped in front of the pass, intercepting Favre and ending what turned out to be the Vikings' final drive of the day. The Saints won the coin toss in overtime, drove for a 40-yard Garrett Hartley field goal and won Super Bowl XXIV two weeks later.

The loss was the Vikings' fifth in as many NFC title games since their last Super Bowl trip, and it ended a dream season that had begun with the team signing Favre in August. The 40-year-old quarterback beat his old team (the Green Bay Packers) twice, had what might have been the best statistical season of his career and threw for 310 yards in an NFC title game now famous for the Saints' attempts to knock Favre out of it. But the interception -- and the bizarre penalty that preceded it -- ended the magical run in a way that Vikings fans know all too well.