The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 on Sunday, clinching the NFC North title, as well as marking the largest comeback in NFL history.
Down 33-0 at halftime, Minnesota not only had to score five touchdowns to take a lead, but had to have its defense at its best for the rest of the game.
Thankfully for quarterback Kirk Cousins and the offense, the defense did just that, allowing only three points in the second half. Although the team let up 33 points in the first half, only one touchdown from Indianapolis was scored by the offense.
One of the biggest performances of the game came from Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley, who played all 79 snaps due to Cameron Dantzler not playing because of an illness.
Shelley allowed just two catches for 15 yards on six targets, and broke up two passes along the way. When Shelley was targeted, Colts quarterback Matt Ryan had a 42.4 quarterback rating for the game.
He also made three tackles, one of which being a crucial stop on Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. on a fourth-quarter third down. Pro Football Focus graded Shelley’s performance as an 83.9, the highest of anyone on the Vikings defense.
Drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2019 and cut from their practice squad in August of this year, Shelley looks like he has the potential to stick around for a long time in Minnesota.
After a breakout game against Buffalo earlier in the season, Shelley has seen more time on the field. Sunday was just his second start of the season, the first being against the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving.
After clinching a playoff spot with the division-clinching win over Indianapolis, the Vikings are locked into the No. 3 seed as the worst-case scenario. They are still vying for control of the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but would need to win out and have the Philadelphia Eagles lose out for it to happen.