MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As the Minnesota Vikings gathered in a large hole in their nondescript locker room at halftime, cornerback Patrick Peterson promised his offensive teammates that the defense would Do whatever it takes to keep the Indianapolis Colts in check, thus setting the tone for a historic escape.
“You only need five touchdowns,” Peterson told them. “nothing.”
Still, the rally has certainly had an impact.
The Vikings pulled off the biggest comeback in NFL history when Greg Joseph’s 40-yard field goal beat the Colts 39-36 with three seconds left in overtime Saturday to win the NFC North in typical dramatic fashion. Divisional victory, thus eliminating a 33-point gap.
Click the video box on this page to watch Kevin O’Connell and Kirk Cousins’ postgame press conference
Kirk Cousins threw for 460 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Vikings (11-3), who trailed 36-7 late in the third quarter to become just the third team in league history Teams that have won 10 games in a season by within 8 points.
“We’re going to work it out until they tell us there’s no more balls to play,” coach Kevin O’Connell said.
In the 1992 playoffs, the Colts (4-9-1) finished high on this list, second only to the Houston Oilers. They lost a 32-point lead (35-3) and lost to Buffalo (41-38) in overtime.
“When you have an opportunity to put people off, we’ve got to do better than what we’ve done so far,” quarterback Matt Ryan said.
The Vikings became just the second team in 1,551 regular-season or playoff games to trail by 30 or more points and still win, according to Sportradar data available since 1930.
RELATED: Vikings postgame locker room interview after historic rally vs. Indianapolis
“Nothing bothered us. We showed it in Buffalo,” said Peterson, who trailed the Bills by 17 points in a 33-30 overtime victory on Nov. 13. “We showed that again today.”
The Vikings took the rally all the way to their second overtime. Cousins hit KJ Osborne — who scored first and had a career-high 157 yards — for 15 yards. He found Adam Thielen for 21 yards — his second of three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. He then threw to Justin Jefferson 13 yards to get in range.
Ifeadi Odenigbo was called to delay play for lying on Jefferson in an attempt to prevent the Vikings from getting ready to kick, allowing Joseph to go five yards closer to the winner.
“It’s a special group with a lot of fighters,” Thielen said.
Colts interim coach Jeff wasn’t exactly conservative in the debacle Saturday. Ryan was blocked on the Minnesota 36’s fourth-and-first drive with 2:19 left. Then Cousins hit Darwin Cook on the next play for a 64-yard touchdown, and TJ Hockenson made a 2-point conversion before a 2-minute warning to tie the game.
“We could have ended the game and ended it,” said Saturday. “I’m in. Everyone’s in. We’re not switching.”
The Colts lost 54-19 to Dallas on Dec. 4 and took a 33-0 lead in the fourth quarter of their most recent game as the Colts recovered from their bye week with a 33-0 semi The game lead stunned the Vikings for the second time — the biggest in the NFL this season. Cincinnati outscored Carolina 35-0 on Nov. 6.
Minnesota’s loss at halftime was the second-worst in franchise history, trailing only a 45-10 loss at Seattle in 2002.
The Vikings even overcame a pair of Chandon Sullivan fumbles for a touchdown, but were wiped out by the whistle.
“I know there are other games that don’t end like that. It was cool to see everyone fight back, and I’m excited to share that moment with my teammates,” guard Eric Kendricks said, wiping away tears.
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The last team to overcome a gap of 24 points or more to win a regular-season game was Washington’s win over Tampa Bay in 2015 when Cousins was at quarterback. The last regular-season comeback record was 28 points in 1980, when San Francisco rallied from a 7-35 deficit to win 38-35.
The special team bore the brunt of the Vikings’ brutal start. Dallis Flowers drove for 49 yards and the Colts were in scoring position within seconds.
Odenigbo ran past two blockers and flanked Ryan Wright’s shot with his right arm. JoJo Domann caught the deflected ball and returned it 24 yards for an easy score and a 10-0 lead.
Then, with the Vikings trailing 20-0 and 1-4 in their own 31 games, Wright’s ball-fixing pass went over Jalen Nailor’s head for his second straight fumble.
Jefferson twice left the game for a brief inspection after suffering a blow to the chest. On his second appearance, Stephen Gilmore also got him into the mask and got an unnecessarily rough penalty in the fourth quarter.
On two plays after Jefferson left the game, Cousins threw a pass to Jaylen Rego on the next play and was intercepted after an apparent miscommunication on the route. The first was a 17-yard touchdown by Julian Blackmon to make it 30-0 in the second quarter.
Jefferson had 12 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown, raising his season total to 1,623 receiving yards. Calvin Johnson’s record 1,964 yards came in 16 games in 2012.
Colts: RB Jonathan Taylor (ankle) left the game in the opener after a hard tackle went out of bounds. He missed three games earlier this season with an injury.
Vikings: LT Christian Darrisaw returned after missing three games with a concussion. He limped twice in overtime with leg cramps. Peterson left briefly with the same question.
Colts: Host the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 26.
Vikings: Host the New York Giants on Dec. 24.
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