The second half was much, much better.
The Minnesota Vikings completed what is, in terms of points, the largest comeback in NFL history as they came back from a 33-point deficit to defeat the Indianapolis Colts by a final score of 39-36 in overtime at U.S. Bank Stadium. The win gives the Vikings their first NFC North championship since 2017 and guarantees their return to the playoffs for the first time since 2019. The comeback margin is the greatest comeback in NFL history, surpassing the Buffalo Bills’ 32-point comeback over the Houston Oilers in the 1992 AFC playoffs.
The Colts drew first blood in this one courtesy of a 26-yard field goal from Chase McLaughlin to make it 3-0 just under six minutes into the contest. The Vikings were then forced to punt on their first possession, but Ryan Wright’s kick was blocked by former Viking Ifeadi Odenigbo and returned for a 24-yard touchdown by the Colts’ JoJo Domann to give the Colts an early 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Two plays into the next drive, Dalvin Cook was hit and lost the ball for a fumble with the Colts recovering at their own 34-yard line (Cook had started the drive with a big 40-yard run). The Colts then, as so many teams have, marched down the field with no resistance and scored again on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Deon Jackson to make it 17-0 with less than four minutes left in the quarter.
On the Vikings’ next possession, they faced a 4th-and-1 from their own 31-yard line and they elected to keep the offense on the field. Dalvin Cook was stopped short of the line to gain, and the Vikings gave the Colts the ball deep in Minnesota territory. That led to another McLaughlin field goal, this one a 28-yarder that made it 20-0 less than two minutes into the second quarter.
The Vikings, again, faced a 4th-and-1 from their own 31 on the next drive, and lined up to punt it away. Instead, however, they attempted to execute a fake, but Ryan Wright’s pass to Jalen Nailor fell incomplete for another turnover on downs. The result was another McLaughlin field goal, this one a 49-yarder to make it 23-0.
After the Vikings had a touchdown taken off of the board when the officials blew a Colts’ fumble dead early, the Colts’ defense got in on the act when Kirk Cousins was intercepted by Julian Blackmon to make it 30-0.
McLaughlin added a 27-yarder just before halftime to make it 33-0 at the half, the second-worst halftime deficit in Vikings’ history. The only bigger one was in Seattle in 2002 when they trailed the Seahawks by a score of 45-10 in a game where Shaun Alexander had five touchdowns in the first half.
The Vikings finally got on the board midway through the third quarter, as Kirk Cousins found K.J. Osborn for a 2-yard touchdown pass to make it 33-7. The play was set up by Cousins finding Osborn for a big 63-yard gain a couple of plays before that, and the Vikings managed to avoid the shutout.
The Colts got some of it back on their next possession on McLaughlin’s fifth field goal, a 52-yarder to make it 36-7. The Vikings then got another touchdown, this one coming on a 1-yard run from C.J. Ham to cut the score to 36-14 with just over a minute left in the third quarter.
After an Indianapolis punt, the Vikings put together a third consecutive touchdown drive, as Kirk Cousins found Justin Jefferson for an 8-yard score to make it a 36-21 game with just under thirteen minutes left in the contest.
After the Vikings forced another Colts punt, they pushed into Indianapolis territory again and then, on what looked like a miscommunication, Cousins was intercepted by Rodney Thomas for his second turnover of the day to thwart the drive. But the Vikings’ defense stood up again and forced another punt with the Vikings getting the ball back at midfield. It didn’t take the Vikings long to get back into the end zone, as Cousins found Adam Thielen for a 1-yard touchdown! The extra point was good and, just like that, it was a one-score game at 36-28 with just over five minutes left.
On the Colts’ next play, it appeared that Chandon Sullivan had another scoop-and-score touchdown, but the officials ruled that the runner was down by contact. The Vikings got the ball back on the fumble recovery but not a touchdown, and their drive was eventually stopped on a 4th down with just under three minutes remaining.
After that turnover, the Colts faced a 4th-and-1 from the Minnesota 36-yard line. Rather than attempt a long field goal, the Colts went for it and Matt Ryan’s sneak attempt was ruled short of the line to gain. That gave the Vikings the ball back with 2:19 left on the clock and no timeouts, trailing 36-28. But the Vikings only needed one play as Dalvin Cook took a screen pass from Kirk Cousins and went 65 yards for a score to make it 36-34!
The Vikings then needed a 2-point conversion to tie things up and they got it on a pass from Cousins to T.J. Hockenson and. . .somehow. . .this game was tied at 36 with just over two minutes remaining.
The Vikings got the ball back on a punt but could not generate a drive, punting the ball back to the Colts and letting the game go to overtime tied at 36-36. The Vikings won the coin toss in overtime and both teams had to punt, but the Vikings ultimately got Greg Joseph into position for a 40-yard field goal that split the uprights, giving the Vikings the most improbable of improbable wins.
The Vikings move to 11-3 on the season and will play their home finale next Saturday when they host the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Colts fall to 4-9-1, falling out of the AFC playoff picture, and they’ll host the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 16 on Monday Night Football.
The Minnesota Vikings courtesy of the greatest comeback in NFL history, have defeated the Indianapolis Colts in overtime at U.S. Bank Stadium by a final score of 39-36. Thank you to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!