Sean Payton Photographed Mocking Vikings' 'Skol' Chant Before Stefon Diggs' TD

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

A series of photos posted on social media Monday night appear to show New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton mocking the Minnesota Vikings' "Skol" celebration during Sunday's divisional-round game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

On Tuesday, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune passed along an update about the moment first mentioned by KFAN analyst and former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber before Minnesota's miracle 61-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs as time expired for the 29-24 victory:

Matthias Buechler @MatthiasBeekie

@ScottBalot @DailyNorseman @nacholeber Woops https://t.co/2uAupT14NQ

Leber said the Saints coach made the motion after kicker Wil Lutz connected on a 43-yard field goal to give New Orleans a 24-23 lead with 25 seconds left.

Payton was asked about the gesture at a press conference Tuesday and said it was directed toward "a group of fans" and was "good playoff fun."

After a 19-yard grab by Diggs and two incomplete passes, the Vikings faced a third down with 10 seconds on the clock and no timeouts. A long sideline pass and a missed tackle by Saints safety Marcus Williams led to one of the most dramatic finishes in playoff history as Diggs raced into the end zone.

Payton previously made headlines last month for making a choking gesture toward Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman during the teams' Week 14 game.

After originally claiming he didn't remember the incident, the 54-year-old California native later apologized for his actions during a media call before the rematch in Week 16:

"Listen, the mistake I made that night was letting my emotions get the best of me. It's the same thing that we talk about with our players all of the time. It wasn't good and I felt like as that game went on, it even affected me in calling plays. I've got to better that way. It was frustrating from some of the officiating. But you learn even when you've been in this thing as long as I have. It's something that you regret and you look back on 'what are you doing?' So, I think that's the thing that bugged me for the better part of the week."

The NFL fined Payton $10,000 for "improperly entering the playing field" for a separate incident during the Dec. 7 meeting with the Falcons.


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