When he was pulled aside for his postgame interview, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins couldn’t believe his team had pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL history.
“I need a second,” he told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero when given the news.
The Vikings did something no other team had done, climbing back from a 33-point deficit to defeat the Indianapolis Colts to clinch the NFC North title Saturday afternoon.
In miraculous fashion, the Vikings outscored the Colts 36-3 in the second half to force overtime after Dalvin Cook took a screen pass 65 yards to the house. The Vikings converted on their two-point attempt to tie the game at 36.
Minnesota kicker Greg Joseph eventually split the uprights with a 40-yard field in the closing seconds of overtime to seal the 39-36 win, and the U.S. Bank Stadium crowd in Minneapolis roared in approval.
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But how could this be? The Vikings entered the locker room after one of the worst performances in any half this season by an NFL team. And this was a 10-3 team heading into the game with a division title nearly in its grasp.
Head coach Kevin O’Connell revealed what cornerback Patrick Peterson told the offense that seemed insane at the time, but it really was the truth.
“I’ll never forget it as long as I live,” O’Connell said postgame. “I walked out to address the team before we went back out there, and I just overheard him walk over to the offense and say, ‘We’re gonna get stops. You just need five touchdowns. That’s nothing.’ It was a nice little moment to lead in off of, and I said, ‘Pat, you’re exactly right.’ That’s what we needed at the time.”
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“I thought he was being sarcastic,” Cousins said of Peterson’s pep talk. But the only way the Vikings were going to win was scoring five touchdowns and keeping the Colts off the scoreboard.
“Obviously, there’s some yelling, there’s some frustration,” Cousins said about the vibe at halftime. “But that just doesn’t happen. Basic people don’t do that, what we just did.”
The Vikings were celebrating all over the field after the comeback win, with star receiver Justin Jefferson, who scored one of the second half touchdowns for Minnesota, saying, “I know we scared y’all in the first half, but stick with us.”
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