NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Both high-flying offenses got off to a roaring start, with Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings jumping out to a 14-7 lead over the New Orleans Saints after the first quarter of the NFC championship game on Sunday.
Favre threw 14 times in the period, leading the Vikings to touchdowns on their first two possessions. He completed 10 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown to Sidney Rice.
Adrian Peterson added a 19-yard scoring run for the Vikings, who were the second-highest scoring team in the NFL this season.
The Saints are No. 1.
Drew Brees completed five of his seven passes in the quarter for 57 yards and a 38-yard touchdown to Pierre Thomas.
The winner advances to play the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl in Miami on Feb. 7. The Colts beat the New York Jets 30-17 in the AFC championship game earlier on Sunday.
With Favre and Brees pulling the triggers, a high-scoring game was expected and the first quarter did not disappoint.
The Vikings took the opening kickoff and steamrolled down the field to hush an amped up Saints crowd. The Vikings called passes on seven of the first eight plays to surge into the red zone, then Peterson polished it off with a 19-yard scoring run for a 7-0 lead.
The Saints came right back, marching down the field with ease and needing only one third-down conversion in a seven-play drive. Thomas took the screen pass from Brees and weaved 38 yards to tie the game 7-7.
Not to be outdone, Favre led another 10-play drive on the next possession, including a 20-yard pass to Percy Harvin on third-and-7 that kept the drive alive. The 40-year-old quarterback was drilled by former Packers teammate Darren Sharper on the play, but he peeled himself off the turf and threw a 5-yard strike to Rice three plays later to give the Vikings the lead.
A city that parties like few others hasn’t stopped celebrating all season long as they’ve watched their beloved Saints assert themselves as the class of the NFC. A 13-0 start, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and the Superdome’s first NFC title game have put their famous “Who Dat?!?” chant on repeat throughout this still recovering region.
No matter who comes out on top, a championship-starved franchise is going to get a long-awaited shot at the Super Bowl. In 43 years of existence, the Saints have never been to the Super Bowl, filling the role of lovable losers for all but a handful of those seasons.
The Vikings have lost all four Super Bowl appearances they’ve made, but an entire generation of fans has grown up without seeing them in the big game. The last time they were there was after the 1976 season.