Vikings’ comeback breaks NFL record

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 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)

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings completed the biggest comeback in NFL history, erasing a 33-point deficit by beating the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 on Greg Joseph's 40-yard field goal with three seconds left in overtime Saturday to win the NFC North division in their typical dramatic fashion.

Kirk Cousins passed for 460 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Vikings (11-3), who trailed 36-7 late in the third quarter and became just the third team in league history to win 10 games in a season by eight points or fewer.

"We're going to grind it out until they tell us there's no more ball left to play," Coach Kevin O'Connell said.

The Colts (4-9-1) stumbled onto the infamous side of the list, just ahead of the Houston Oilers in the 1992 postseason. They blew a 32-point lead (35-3) and lost to Buffalo (41-38) in overtime.

"When you have chances to put people away, we've got to do a better job than we've done up until this point," quarterback Matt Ryan said.

According to Sportradar data, the Vikings became only the second team in 1,551 regular-season or playoff games since 1930 that a team trailed by 30 or more points in and won.

"Nothing fazes us. We showed that in Buffalo," said cornerback Patrick Peterson, who aided a 33-30 overtime victory over the Bills on Nov. 13 after a 17-point deficit. "We showed that again today."

The Vikings took this rally all the way to their second possession of overtime. Cousins hit K.J. Osborn -- who caught the first score and had a career-high 157 yards -- for 15 yards. He found Adam Thielen -- who had the second of three fourth-quarter touchdown passes -- for 21 yards. Then he threw to Justin Jefferson for 13 yards to move into range.

Ifeadi Odenigbo was called for delay of game for lying on Jefferson to try to keep the Vikings from setting up for the kick, putting Joseph 5 yards closer for the winner.

"It's a special group, a lot of fighters," Thielen said.

Colts interim Coach Jeff Saturday didn't exactly get conservative in this collapse. Ryan was stopped short on a fourth-and-1 sneak at the Minnesota 36 with 2:19 left in regulation. Then Cousins hit Dalvin Cook for a 64-yard touchdown on a screen pass on the next play and T.J. Hockenson for the two-point conversion to tie the game before the two-minute warning.

"We would have closed the game out and ended the game," Saturday said. "I'm in. Everybody's in. We didn't convert."

Outscored 33-0 in the fourth quarter of their most recent game, a 54-19 loss to Dallas on Dec. 4, the Colts came back fresh from their bye week and stunned the Vikings with a 33-0 halftime lead that was the second-largest in the NFL this season. Cincinnati led Carolina 35-0 on Nov. 6.

The intermission deficit for Minnesota was the second-biggest in franchise history, behind a 45-10 score at Seattle in 2002.

The last team to overcome a deficit of 24-plus points to win a regular season game was Washington over Tampa Bay in 2015, when Cousins was the quarterback. The previous regular season comeback record was 28 points in 1980, when San Francisco rallied from down 35-7 to win 38-35.

Indianapolis1716300--36

Minnesota0014223--39

First Quarter

Ind--FG McLaughlin 26, 9:11.

Ind--Domann 24 blocked punt return (McLaughlin kick), 8:12.

Ind--D.Jackson 1 pass from Ryan (McLaughlin kick), 3:51.

Second Quarter

Ind--FG McLaughlin 28, 13:07.

Ind--FG McLaughlin 49, 10:41.

Ind--Blackmon 17 interception return (McLaughlin kick), 5:50.

Ind--FG McLaughlin 27, :08.

Third Quarter

Min--Osborn 2 pass from Cousins (Joseph kick), 8:22.

Ind--FG McLaughlin 52, 4:53.

Min--Ham 1 run (Joseph kick), 1:13.

Fourth Quarter

Min--Jefferson 8 pass from Cousins (Joseph kick), 12:52.

Min--Thielen 1 pass from Cousins (Joseph kick), 5:30.

Min--Cook 64 pass from Cousins (Hockenson pass from Cousins), 2:15.

Overtime

Min--FG Joseph 40, :03.

A--66,801.

IndMin

First downs2032

Total Net Yards341518

Rushes-yards43-17124-92

Passing170426

Punt Returns1-03-13

Kickoff Returns5-1756-159

Interceptions Ret.2-170-0

Comp-Att-Int19-33-034-55-2

Sacked-Yards Lost3-127-34

Punts7-43.5716-38.5

Fumbles-Lost3-11-1

Penalties-Yards11-1039-74

Time of Possession36:3733:20

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING--Indianapolis, Moss 24-81, Jackson 13-55, Pittman 2-30, Dulin 1-5, Ryan 3-0. Minnesota, Cook 17-95, Ham 2-1, Mattison 2-1, Cousins 2-0, Reagor 1-(minus 5).

PASSING--Indianapolis, Ryan 19-33-0-182. Minnesota, Cousins 34-54-2-460, Wright 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING--Indianapolis, Pittman 10-60, Granson 2-34, Dulin 2-25, Campbell 2-13, Woods 1-36, Taylor 1-13, Jackson 1-1. Minnesota, Jefferson 12-123, Osborn 10-157, Cook 4-95, Thielen 3-41, Hockenson 3-33, Mundt 1-7, Ham 1-4.

  photo  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)
 
 
  photo  Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) is tackled by 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)
 
 
  photo  Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan sits on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
 
 
  photo  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)
 
 
  photo  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)
 
 
  photo  Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) is tackled by 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)
 
 
  photo  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)