Many people doubted the Viking’s legitimacy because of their one-possession wins against below-average to average teams. It’s fair to say they are legit after pulling off a heroic comeback against the Bills, who are considered Super Bowl favorites and one of the NFL’s best teams.
Down 10-27 in the third quarter, the comeback started with Dalvin Cook rushing for an 81-yard touchdown, the longest of his six-year career. Midway through the fourth quarter, Patrick Peterson intercepted Josh Allen on a 4th and two, which allowed C.J Ham to score his first rushing touchdown of the season, lessening the lead to 23-27. Then came the improbable one-handed catch by Justin Jefferson on 4th and 18 to keep the Vikings in the game. Conversely, the crucial fourth-down stop came as Buffalo did not allow Kirk Cousins to sneak in the endzone, although a couple of Buffalo Bills players were lined up offsides on the play. Josh Allen and the offense got the ball back on their one-yard line. A surprising fumble from Mitch Morse and Allen led to Eric Kendricks recovering the ball in the endzone, which put the Vikings in front, 30-27, with 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Allen and the offense drove down the field, and Tyler Bass kicked a 29-yard field goal which tied the game with two seconds left in regulation. The Vikings received the ball first in overtime and scored three at the end of their drive. Buffalo got the ball back with three minutes and 42 seconds remaining in overtime, and their offense got to the red zone in two minutes. However, on 2nd and ten, while trying to target Gabe Davis, Josh Allen threw an interception to Peterson again, which consequently ended the game.
While Kirk Cousins is, statistically speaking, having his worst season as a Viking, he has been clutch in the fourth quarter and is a significant factor in why the Vikings are 7-0 in their one-possession games. Ironically, his performance is around average this year, which is a bit uncharacteristic. Still, Viking fans will surely prefer Cousins to have an average season statistically with an exceptional record rather than him having another accomplished year with a decent record.
Does this improbable win finally give an identity to the Vikings? Minnesota is 7-0 in one-possession games this year, which is an improvement from the 2021 season. Over these seven games, they have shown resilience, dominance, and relentless effort in the fourth quarter. There are no stats to show how clutch a team can really be, but the Vikings have taken the identity of being one of the best, if not the best, fourth-quarter teams in the NFL. Even though this win shows that the Vikings are one the more elite teams in the league, they still have work to do. While they are back home this week against the Cowboys, they have another daunting task against their defense. Micah Parsons is currently in his sophomore year and has already solidified himself as one of the league’s best edge rushers and overall defensive players. Sure the win against the Bills was impressive, but back-to-back wins against Buffalo and Dallas would put Minnesota in the conversation for being a prime team in the league.