Kris Boyd, Holton Hill help Vikings upset New Orleans Saints in OT

Two former Texas Longhorns football players, CB’s Kris Boyd and Holton Hill, helped the Minnesota Vikings beat the Saints by six-points in overtime.

Two former member of the Texas Longhorns football program are making an impact in the same defensive backfield in the NFL nowadays. Those two former Longhorns are both playing for the Minnesota Vikings now, including cornerbacks Kris Boyd and Holton Hill.

In the 2018 NFL Draft, Hill wound up slipping through and getting signed by the Vikings as an undrafted free agent. It seemed like Hill had some off-the-field issues that impacted his draft stock ahead of the 2018 NFL Combine. And in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Vikings made the move to pick up the former Longhorns starting senior cornerback Boyd in the seventh round (No. 217 overall).

Even though neither Boyd nor Hill involved more investment than a seventh round pick in the NFL Draft in the past two years, they’ve provided a ton of value to that secondary. And it still looks like the Vikings are working Boyd into the mix in the secondary, since there wasn’t a single game during the regular season where he played in more than half the snaps on defense.

But Boyd is just finishing up his rookie season, so it could take a while for him to get up and running in a solidified cornerback role for the Vikings. Boyd racked up 12 total tackles, two tackles for loss, and one pass deflection as a rookie.

However, Hill held a significant role with this Vikings secondary during the regular season. And when the Vikings faced the NFC South Champion New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Round on the road in the playoffs on Jan. 5, Hill played a big role in trying to slow down that electric offense led by quarterback Drew Brees, wide receiver Michael Thomas, and running back Alvin Kamara.

In this showdown against the Saints, the Vikings were considered pretty significant underdogs. Last season, the Saints were one play away from getting into the Super Bowl to face the eventual champions New England Patriots.

But both the Patriots and the Saints found themselves upended in Wild Card Weekend this year. The Patriots fell short against the Tennessee Titans at home at Gillette Stadium by the final score of 20-13 on Jan. 4. And the Saints wound up falling short to the Vikings by the final score of 26-20 in overtime on Jan. 5.

Hill pitched into the Vikings effort in this win over the Saints to move onto the Divisional Round with four total tackles. He helped to limit Brees to just over 200 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Although Hill didn’t usually have Thomas as an assignment in pass coverage, he still had to remain stout against either standout tight end Jared Cook or wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr.

The Vikings will either play the NFC North Champion Green Bay Packers or the NFC West Champion San Francisco 49ers in the Division Round next weekend. The efforts from Hill helped this Vikings defense to limit the Saints for most of this Wild Card showdown, even though Body didn’t play much at all.

Depending on who wins between the Seattle Seahawks and the NFC East Champion Philadelphia Eagles on the evening of Jan. 5, the Vikings could either play against the breakthrough Niners or division foe Packers. It should amount to an interesting Divisional Round weekend any way it happens.