Vikings clinch NFC North after biggest comeback in NFL history

Minnesota Vikings fans need to close their eyes, take a deep breath and recover after mixed emotions at US Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

They just witnessed the greatest comeback in NFL history.

Trailing 33-0 at halftime to 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 beat it, 39- 36.

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Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings scores a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter of a game at US Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.

Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings scores a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter of a game at US Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.
(Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

How about taking the NFC North at 11-3?

The Vikings were down eight points when they stopped Colts quarterback Matt Ryan’s 4th-and-1 stealth drive on Minnesota’s 36-yard line to get the ball back with less than three minutes to go.

On the next play, Kirk Cousins ​​threw a screen to Dalvin Cook and he turned on the jets. Cook ran for 65 yards, fighting off some goal line tackles to get into the end zone for a 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 by TJ Hockenson, tying the game at 36.

The Vikings got the ball first in overtime, but were unable to score a game-ending touchdown. Instead, they needed a break as the Colts looked to salvage what looked like their fifth win of the season.

But Ryan was hit hard on 3rd and 9, forcing a punt and giving the Vikings a chance to push the field to victory.

Knowing a field goal was all that was needed, the Vikings pulled off big plays, starting KJ Osborn for 15 yards. Then, Cousins ​​scored one to Adam Thielen for 21 yards, followed by Justin Jefferson’s 13-yard gain to set up the game-winner for Joseph.

Julian Blackmon of the Indianapolis Colts returns the ball for a pick-six against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter of a game at US Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.

Julian Blackmon of the Indianapolis Colts returns the ball for a pick-six against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter of a game at US Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.
(Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

As the ball sailed past the posts, the sold-out crowd roared in excitement and disbelief as the Vikings completed the biggest 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 trailing in the worst loss in Super Bowl history, when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots lost 28-3 and won in overtime.

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But how did we get here? The Vikings were hurt throughout the first half, including a blocked punt for a touchdown, a lost fumble that resulted in a Colts touchdown, and two turnover attempts on downs that Indianapolis took advantage of.

This was a two-stroke story, clearly, and the Vikings started the second half with a touchdown to Osborn on their second drive. They scored two more after that, one by CJ Ham and another by Jefferson to put the game within reach at 36-21.

An interception on their next trip looked like a killer, but the Vikings never wavered. They forced the Colts to make a three and out, getting the ball back and capitalizing. This time it was Adam Thielen finding the end zone to make it a one score game.

The rest is NFL history.

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After throwing for 425 yards last week in a loss to the Detroit Lions, Cousins ​​threw for 460 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, 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.

Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after running for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter of a game at US Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Minneapolis.

Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after running for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter of a game at US Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Minneapolis.
(Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Ryan finished with 182 yards and a touchdown on 19 of 33 passes, while Zack Moss led 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 catches 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 certainly glad their team gets to root for it at the end of the day.

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