Minnesota Vikings fans need to close their eyes, take a deep breath and pull themselves together after the mixed emotions at US Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
They just witnessed the biggest comeback in NFL history.
Down 33-0 at halftime against the Indianapolis Colts, the Vikings outscored the Colts 36-3 in the second half, forcing overtime, where Greg Joseph kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired to win it, 39-36.
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How about that to clinch the NFC North at 11-3?
The Vikings trailed eight points when they stopped Colts quarterback Matt Ryan’s sneak pass on 4-and-1 at the Minnesota 36-yard line to get the ball back with less than three minutes to play.
On the next play, Kirk Cousins threw a screen at Dalvin Cook and he fired up the jets. Cook ran for 65 yards, fighting off some goal-line tackles to get into the end zone and score with a chance to tie it.
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And the Vikings did just that, capping their comeback with a two-point conversion from TJ Hockenson, tying the game to 36.
The Vikings got the ball first in overtime, but were unable to score a touchdown to end the game. Instead, they needed a stop with the Colts looking to salvage what appeared to be their fifth win of the season.
But Ryan took a heavy barrage at 3 and 9, forcing a punt and giving the Vikings a chance to drive downfield for the win.
Knowing that a field goal was all it took, the Vikings put together big plays, starting KJ Osborn for 15 yards. Cousins then scored one to Adam Thielen for 21 yards, followed by Justin Jefferson’s 13-yard gain to set up Joseph’s game-winner.
As the ball went through the uprights, the sold-out crowd roared with excitement and disbelief as the Vikings completed the greatest comeback, 33 points, in NFL history.
For Ryan, this one probably hurt more than his teammates. Not only is he the losing quarterback in the biggest comeback in history, but his Atlanta Falcons were also on the losing end of the worst loss in Super Bowl history when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were down 28-3. and they won in overtime.
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But how did we get here? The Vikings got hurt throughout the first half, including a blocked punt for a touchdown, a lost fumble that resulted in a Colts touchdown, and two turnover series that Indianapolis took advantage of.
This was a tale of two halves, clearly, and the Vikings began the second half with a touchdown run for Osborn on their second drive. They scored two more after that, one to CJ Ham and the other to Jefferson to bring the game within reach at 36-21.
An interception on their next drive seemed like murder, but the Vikings never wavered. They forced the Colts into a three-and-out, getting the ball back and capitalizing. This time, it was Adam Thielen who found the end zone to make it a one-score game.
The rest is NFL history.
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After passing for 425 yards last week in a loss to the Detroit Lions, Cousins passed for 460 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 34 of 54 pass attempts. His leading receiver was Osborn with 157 yards on 10 receptions, while Jefferson finished with 123 yards on 12 receptions.
On the ground, Cook had 95 yards on 17 carries.
Ryan finished with 182 yards and a touchdown on 19 of 33 passes, while Zack Moss led the rushing leader with 81 yards on the day. Jonathan Taylor, the Colts’ All-Pro running back, left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Michael Pittman Jr. had 10 receptions for 60 yards.
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The Minnesota Miracle. The greatest comeback in NFL history. Crazy things happen in Minneapolis, and these Vikings fans are surely glad that their team can cheer them on at the end of the day.