Vikings complete greatest comeback in NFL history with 39-36 overtime win over Colts – Twin Cities

Minnesota Vikings tight end Johnny Mundt (86) runs from Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers (34) after catching a pass during overtime in an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 39-36. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) runs from Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas II (25) after catching a pass during the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) celebrates after kicking a 40-yard field goal during overtime in an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 39-36 (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, left, celebrates with teammate Alexander Mattison after catching a 64-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore (5) breaks up a pass intended for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) runs from Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney McLeod (26) after catching a pass during the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Ashton Dulin catches a pass ahead of Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chandon Sullivan (39) during the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Fans cheer during overtime in an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 39-36. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Vikings center Austin Schlottmann (65) gets set to snap the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches an 8-yard touchdown pass ahead of Indianapolis Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore (5) during the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook runs from Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney McLeod (26) during the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) reacts on the field after getting tackled by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore during the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday talks with down judge Patrick Turner, left, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) talks with down judge Patrick Turner, left, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) celebrates with teammates Dalvin Cook (4) and T.J. Hockenson (87) after catching a 2-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Indianapolis Colts linebacker JoJo Domann (57) scores a touchdown after intercepting the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of an NFL football game Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

Indianapolis Colts running back Deon Jackson (35) scores a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of an NFL football game Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

Call it the Minneapolis Miracle, part two.

Trailing 33-0 at halftime to the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, the Vikings looked done. Some fans had already left at U.S. Bank Stadium. Many who stayed were booing. But then the improbable happened.

The Vikings stormed back to win 39-36 in overtime in the greatest comeback in NFL history, and clinched the NFC North title. Victory was secured when Greg Joseph drilled a 40-yard field goal with three seconds left in overtime.

The previous biggest NFL comeback was 32 points, with Buffalo overcoming a 35-3 deficit to defeat Houston 41-38 in overtime in a playoff game on Jan. 3, 1993.

It easily was the most exhilarating regular-season win for the Vikings in their seven seasons at U.S. Bank Stadium. The only one to exceed it was the Minneapolis Miracle game in the 2017 playoffs in which Stefon Diggs caught a dramatic touchdown pass from Case Keenum on the final play to beat New Orleans.

“When you fight with your brothers and you somehow pull out a victory, there’s no better feeling,” said wide receiver Adam Thielen, one of five Minnesota players remaining from the 2017 team. “We’ve got somebody upstairs looking over us, I think.”

While one can’t fully compare regular-season wins to playoff wins, Thielen did put Saturday’s game in perspective.

“It’s got to be the best of all time in the regular season,” he said.

The Vikings (11-3) beat themselves in the first half as they watched the Colts (4-9-1) score on a 24-yard blocked punt return for a touchdown by JoJo Domann and on an 17-yard interception return for a TD by Julian Blackmon en route to their huge lead. And the Vikings failed twice on fourth-and-1 plays in their own territory.

“My thoughts weren’t great at halftime,” said Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, who would end up completing 34 of 54 passes for a career-high 460 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. “I felt like we were losing in a lot of ways.”

Then cornerback Patrick Peterson spoke up.

“We need five touchdowns to win,” Peterson said. “That was my message to (the team).”

Cousins admitted his first thought was that Peterson was being “sarcastic.” But then the points started piling up for the Vikings in the second half and they did indeed get five touchdowns.

In the third quarter, Cousins threw a touchdown pass of 2 yards to K.J. Osborn and C.J. Ham ran 1 yard for a TD to cut the deficit to 36-14.

When Cousins threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jefferson early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 36-21, he said he began to believe it had become a “normal NFL football game” and that the Vikings could win. Around that time, the loudspeakers began to blare Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

The Vikings didn’t. Cousins threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Thielen with 5:30 left in in regulation to cut the deficit to 36-28. Then they tied the score 36-36 with 2:15 remaining in regulation on a 64-yard screen pass that Dalvin Cook turned into a touchdown, followed by Cousins’ two-point conversion pass to T.J. Hockenson.

In overtime, the Vikings finally won it on Joseph’s field goal. That led to them outscoring the Colts 39-3 after halftime, and the Vikings celebrated in the locker room while wearing T-shirts that read “Conquered the North.”

“We’re the NFC North champions,” Osborn said. “It’s amazing. I’m still trying to unpack all of this. It’s just crazy.”

With the Vikings rolling up 518 yards of offense, Osborn had 10 catches for 157 yards, Jefferson had 12 receptions for 123 yards, and Cook ran for 95 yards to up his season total to 1,045. He also caught four passes for 95 yards.

“I’m absolutely exhausted right now,” first-year Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said after the game. “I can’t say enough about our fans. Although I felt it and heard some of the rightly due displeasure with our team in the first half, the moment that we could get some enthusiasm back in this building, no matter how farfetched it seemed that we could come back, our fans were right there. … This one will stick with me for a long time.”

Meanwhile, it was one that Colts coach Jeff Saturday will try to put out of his mind.

“You’ve got to keep your head, got to play disciplined football, and we didn’t do those things in the second half and ultimately lost this game,” he said.

With Colts getting a lot of help from Vikings mistakes early in the game, they didn’t do a lot on offense. They had 341 total yards, and Matt Ryan completed a pedestrian 19 of 33 passes for 182 yards with a touchdown.

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Ryan said. “We didn’t make enough plays at the right time.”

But the Vikings did. They outgained Indianapolis 436 yards to 132 in the second half as their much-maligned defense stood up when needed.

The Vikings raised their record to an incredible 10-0 this season in one-score games. Peterson said all their previous experience in such games helped out Saturday, including when the Vikings stormed back from a 17-point deficit for a dramatic 33-30 overtime win Nov. 13 at Buffalo.

“Nothing fazes us,” Peterson said. “We showed that in the Buffalo game. We showed that again (Saturday). We’re at our best when our best is required. Guys have a unique ability on this team to believe in one another.”

Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks called it a game he will “never forget.” Kendricks, who made a key fumble recovery for a touchdown late in regulation in last month’s win over the Bills and played in the Minneapolis Miracle game, didn’t want to compare games but was proud to add Saturday’s win to his list.

“They’re separate moments that I’m going to enjoy and cherish in their own individual right,” he said. “We had some guys just pull through (Saturday).”

This content was originally published here.

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