Saints Pivotal Moments
1983 Vikings: Wilson Scores Go-Ahead TD
It should have been no surprise when neither side of the game in the Superdome between Bud Grant's Vikings and Bum Phillips' Saints scored 20 points. Both coaches believed in running the ball to control the clock and playing excellent defense.
The 6-6 Saints needed to forget about their Monday night loss to the Jets when they squandered a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose 31-28.
The game featured three former Saints playing for the Vikings: QB Archie Manning, RB Tony Galbreath, and K Benny Ricardo. However, Manning was sidelined with an overactive thyroid condition.
Saints QB Ken Stabler was expected to return after suffering bruised ribs three weeks ear­lier. He explained the Jets loss this way: "We put our defense on the field too much, and we didn't maintain control of the ball."
LB Jim Kovach spoke for the Saints defense, which was ranked #1 in the NFL and tied with Minnesota for most sacks. "We have to make up our minds to forget about it (the Jets loss). We should look at the films only to make ourselves better for the Vikings. It's very important for us to come back, although it's difficult."
Articles on the Vikings game were accompanied by articles on the four Saints expected to appear before a federal grand jury investigating narcotics trafficking. The players were believed to be RB George Rogers, DE Frank Warren, NT Tony Elliott, and FB Wayne Wilson.
Nevertheless, the Saints entered the fray as a 2.5-point favorite.
Vikings Strike First
Minnesota took an early 3-0 lead by capitalizing on John Turner's interception of Sta­bler's pass on the third play from scrimmage. On third-and-6, QB Steve Dils passed 11y to Galbreath to move the chains. Three snaps later, Dils converted a third-and-6 by hitting WR Darrin Nelson for 7y. But the Vikings' third-down luck ran out when Rickey Jackson and Jim Wilks pressured Dils into an incompletion to Galbreath. So former Saint Bennie Ricar­do kicked a 23y field goal to put the Vikings up 3-0.

L-R: Ken Stabler, Rickey Jackson, Jim Kovach
The Vikings were hurt when they lost TE Dave Casper in the first quarter because of a pulled hamstring. That negated their plan to use a three-tight-end running attack.
The Saints scored first with 3:24 left in the period on RB Wayne Wilson's dive from the two. That ended a 12-play, 78y march highlighted by Rogers' 14y gain on two successive runs for a first down at the Viking 45, and a 17y connection from Stabler to WR Eugene Good­low. Two more completions, 17y to Goodlow and 12y to WR Jeff Groth made it first-and-10 from the 11. Then it was Rogers time. Three straight runs gained 8y. Phillips said go for it, and his confidence was rewarded when Wilson dove over for his ninth rushing touchdown of the season. Morten Andersen converted. Saints 7 Vikings 3

L-R: Wayne Wilson, Hokie Gajan, Eugene Goodlow
Vikings Back in Front
The Vikings retook the lead when LB Matt Blair hit Rogers hard enough to cause a fumble that DE Neil Elshire pounced on at the NO 30. Dils hit TE Bob Bruer for 24y to the six. After a 1y run, Dils threw his 11th touchdown pass of the season, this one to Galbreath. Vikings 10 Saints 7
Saints Pull into Tie
The Saints tied the score when Anderson kicked a 25y field goal to finish a 10-play, 76y march. Stabler connected with WR Lindsay Scott for 27y, then hit Hoby Brenner for 20 more to get a first down at the Viking 36. Wilson gained one, then eight on a quick draw. Then he ran again for seven to gain another first down at the 20. Stabler found Scott for 12y. But Wilson gained two and lost two on the next two snaps. When Stabler's pass for Groth in the end zone was broken up by Turner, Andersen made it 12-for-12 on field goals for the season to tie the score. Saints 10 Vikings 10

L-R: Jeff Groth, Lindsay Scott, Hoby Brenner
Saints Give a Little Bit More
The only scoring drive in the third period culminated in Ricardo's 27y field goal, ending a 9-play, 49y drive. The drive started after Turner intercepted Stabler's pass at the Viking 30 and returned it 12y. Four runs gained 30y until Dils connected with TE Bob Bruer for 13y and a first down at the NO 15. Galbreath gained five, then one. On third-and-four from the nine, Dils threw incomplete to Bruer. So Ricardo kicked a 27y field goal with 3:25 left in the quar­ter. Vikings 13 Saints 10
The Saints retook the lead on their next possession that carried over into the fourth quarter. Key plays were Wilson's 15y run to the NO 40, Gajan's 25y scamper off the left side to the Vikings 35. Stabler passed to WR Eugene Goodlow for 26 to the nine. After an illegal proce­dure penalty set the Saints back 5y, Wilson gained eight, Stabler hit Groth for five to the one, and Wilson scored from there. Andersen's PAT made it Saints 17 Vikings 10 with 12:44 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings used up almost all of that time on a relentless drive to the NO 14. Nelson got them started with a 20y scamper around left end. Dils hit WR Sam McCullum down the mid­dle for 25 more to the Saints 35. After Nelson gained seven, then five to move the chains, Dils threw incomplete. Nelson gained four on a statue of liberty play to the NO 14. But after three incompletions, the Vikings had to settle for another field goal. Saints 17 Vikings 16 (3:29)
The Vikings had one last chance at pulling out the victory when DB Carl Lee forced a fum­ble by Gajan that LB Dennis Fowlkes recovered with 3:16 left. But the Saints stifled the offense and forced Ricardo to try a 47y field goal that was long enough but wide.
The Saints ran out the remaining 1:55 to move their record to 7-6.
"We were giving the ball away so much, I thought it was Christmas," said Coach Phillips.
"We were dodging so many bullets, I thought we were in a shooting gallery," said Hokie Gajan.