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Vikings clinch NFC North after best comeback in NFL history

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Minnesota Vikings fans have to close their eyes, take a deep breath and recuperate after the combination of emotions at U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon. 

They simply witnessed the best comeback in NFL history. 

Down 33-0 at halftime to the Indianapolis Colts, the Vikings outscored the Colts 36-3 within the second half, forcing extra time, where Greg Joseph kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired to win it, 39-36.

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Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings scores a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in the course of the fourth quarter of a game at U.S. Bank Stadium Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.
(Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

How about that to clinch the NFC North at 11-3? 

The Vikings were down eight points once they stopped Colts quarterback Matt Ryan’s sneak on 4th-and-1 on the Minnesota 36-yard line to get the ball back with under three minutes to play. 

The very next play, Kirk Cousins dumped a screen to Dalvin Cook, and he turned on the jets. Cook ran 65 yards, fighting off a couple of tackles on the goal line to get into the top zone for a rating with the prospect to tie it. 

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And the Vikings did just that, capping their comeback with a T.J. Hockenson two-point conversion, knotting the sport at 36. 

The Vikings got the ball first in extra time, but they couldn’t rating a touchdown to finish the sport. As a substitute, they needed a stop with the Colts seeking to salvage what their fifth win of the season. 

But Ryan was blitzed heavily on Third-and-9, forcing a punt and giving the Vikings a likelihood to push downfield for the win. 

Knowing a field goal was all that was needed, the Vikings got chunk plays, starting with K.J. Osborn for 15 yards. Then, Cousins dotted one to Adam Thielen for 21 yards, followed by Justin Jefferson’s 13-yard gain to establish Joseph’s game-winner. 

Julian Blackmon of the Indianapolis Colts returns the ball for a pick-six against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter of a game at U.S. Bank Stadium Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.

Julian Blackmon of the Indianapolis Colts returns the ball for a pick-six against the Minnesota Vikings in the course of the second quarter of a game at U.S. Bank Stadium Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.
(Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

When the ball went through the uprights, the sold-out crowd roared in excitement and disbelief because the Vikings accomplished the best comeback — 33 points — in NFL history.

For Ryan, this one likely hurt a greater than his teammates. Not only is he the losing quarterback in the best comeback in history, but his Atlanta Falcons were also on the losing end of the worst defeat in Super Bowl history when Tom Brady and the Recent England Patriots were down 28-3 and won in extra time. 

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But how did we even get here? The Vikings hurt themselves throughout the primary half, including a blocked punt for a touchdown, a lost fumble that resulted in a Colts touchdown and two turnover-on-downs drives that Indianapolis took advantage of. 

This was a tale of two halves, clearly, and the Vikings began the second half with a touchdown to Osborn on their second drive. They scored two more after that, one to C.J. Ham and the opposite to Jefferson to place the sport within sight at 36-21. 

An interception on their next drive appeared like a killer, however the Vikings never wavered. They forced the Colts right into a three and out, getting the ball right back and capitalizing. This time, it was Adam Thielen finding the top zone to make it a one-score game. 

The remainder is NFL history. 

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After throwing for 425 yards last week in a loss to the Detroit Lions, Cousins threw for 460 yards with 4 touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 34 of 54 pass attempts. His leading receiver was Osborn with 157 yards on 10 catches, while Jefferson finished with 123 yards on 12 receptions. 

On the bottom, Cook had 95 yards on 17 carries. 

Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after rushing for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter of a game at U.S. Bank Stadium Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.

Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after rushing for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in the course of the fourth quarter of a game at U.S. Bank Stadium Dec. 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.
(Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Ryan finished with 182 yards and one touchdown on 19 of 33 passing, while Zack Moss was the leading rusher with 81 yards on the day. Jonathan Taylor, the Colts’ All-Pro running back, left the sport in the primary quarter with an ankle injury. Michael Pittman Jr. had 10 catches for 60 yards.  

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The Minnesota Miracle. The best comeback in NFL history. Crazy stuff happens in Minneapolis, and these Vikings fans are surely glad their team can cheer about it at the top of the day. 

Scott Thompson is a sports author for Fox News Digital.

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