The Minnesota Vikings won yet another nail-biter against the New York football Giants, deciding the game with a franchise-record 61-yard no-doubter from kicker Greg “The Leg” Joseph.
Kirk Cousins and his merry men on offense made sure all Vikings fans got one present on Christmas Eve, with Cousins throwing for 299 yards, 3 TDs, and a passer rating of 107.9. TE TJ Hockenson caught 2 in the endzone and the ever-mercurial Justin Jefferson the other.
The defense, still showing some inconsistency, continued to make progress after finding it’s stride during the second half of Week 15’s matchup against the Colts. Patrick Peterson had a nice interception in the 3rd quarter while Brian Asamoah forced and recovered a fumble in in the 2nd quarter. Danielle Hunter also tacked on 2 sacks.
This Vikings team can now officially call itself an all-time statistical outlier by setting an NFL record with an 11-0 record in one-score games. That fact should tell those that have been living under a rock this season what these Vikes are all about.
Here are where the Vikings stand in various power rankings from the wider NFL Media after Week 16.
ESPN: #7 - no change
Defining moment: In the most improbable moment of a most improbable season, the NFL’s receiving leader snagged a high pass from Kirk Cousins with one hand and held on as he crashed to the ground late in the Vikings’ Week 10 game at Buffalo. The 32-yard play allowed the Vikings to continue their final possession of regulation; the Vikings eventually turned the ball over on downs at Buffalo’s 1-yard line, but they scored on the next play after recovering a Josh Allen fumble in the end zone. The Vikings prevailed in overtime, one of eight games they’ve won after trailing or being tied in the fourth quarter. On the year, Minnesota has won an NFL-record 11 games by one score. — Kevin Seifert
NFL.com, Dan Hanzus: #7 - up one from #8
While doubters keep wondering when regression will take hold, the Vikings keep winning. Minnesota triumphed in yet another one-score game on Saturday, getting a walk-off 61-yard field goal from Greg Joseph to beat the Giants, 27-24. Joseph got his chance thanks to Justin Jefferson, whose 17-yard catch-and-run in the final minute moved the ball into Giants territory and capped another dominant day from a player who absolutely deserves to be in the MVP conversation. The Vikings are 11-0 in one-score games this season, and Jefferson has been in the middle of the action during every crucible moment. A true difference-maker.
Yahoo Sports, Frank Schwab: #7 - no change
If you signed a quarterback and he delivered 20,504 yards, 151 touchdowns to 47 interceptions and a 101.3 passer rating in five seasons, including one season that included eight fourth-quarter game-winning drives for a 12-3 team, that’s a good signing, right? It’s OK for Kirk Cousins haters to acknowledge that Cousins isn’t as bad as you like to think.
USA Today, Nate Davis: #7 - up one from #8
In order to keep their slim hopes of taking the home field from Philadelphia alive, dome-dwelling Vikes will have to win at Green Bay and Chicago as they conclude regular season.
Bleacher Report: #7 - no change
The Minnesota Vikings like to keep things interesting.
When kicker Greg Joseph blasted through a franchise-record 61-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Giants, it marked Minnesota’s 11th one-score win and the sixth time the Vikings have won this season with a score in the final minute of the fourth quarter or in overtime. Both are NFL records.
By the time the dust settles on the 2022 campaign, wide receiver Justin Jefferson may have a record of his own. After another huge game, Jefferson needs 209 yards to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record.
The question now is whether a Vikings team that lives dangerously with such regularity and sports the worst pass defense in the league can continue pulling rabbits from hats in the playoffs.
Sporting News, Vinnie Iyler: #7 - down one from #6
The Vikings aren’t lucky. They put themselves in position to win with good offensive play design that involves top skill players Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook and T.J. Hockenson at the right times. They also proved defense and special teams can be a factor when needed.
CBS Sports, Pete Prisco: #6 - no change
At 12-3, they are pushing to be the second seed. But if the Eagles were to stumble twice, they could end up with the top seed if they won out.
The Ringer, Austin Gale: #7 - no change
Justin Jefferson is a runaway favorite (minus-800) to win Offensive Player of the Year, and rightfully so. No other non-quarterback has done more for their team this season than Jefferson. Tyreek Hill has blown the top off the ceiling of the Dolphins’ offense, but what separates Jefferson is what he does to raise the floor for the Vikings offense and help his team win close games.
Sports Illustrated, Connor Orr: #8 - down one from #7
The Vikings are collecting one miraculous win after another. Last week, we wondered if the Colts game would produce some level of fatigue. This week, they edged the Giants on a 61-yard field goal. Their constants have remained constant in 2022, and this week we’ll get a glimpse of them operating in a true playoff atmosphere.
Pro Football Network, Dalton Miller: #7 - up one from #8
The Minnesota Vikings might be the most incredible team ever. No team has ever won 11 one-score games in one season, and the Vikings remain undefeated in such games. Justin Jefferson broke the Vikings record for receptions in a season, and Kirk Cousins’ eighth fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives are both records.
The Vikings feel like a slightly above-average football team destined for greatness. They’ll most likely secure the second seed in the NFC and play home games in the playoffs unless they face Philadelphia in the conference championship game.
Where do you think they will end up after the second matchup against the Green Bay Packers, a potential first-round playoff opponent?