Minnesota Vikings' Greatest Come-from-Behind Victories of All Time
The NFL has plenty going on right now as they get ready for Tom Brady and Eli Manning to clash at Super Bowl XLVI. However, that leaves the vast majority of football fans having to sit back and wonder about their teams and what could have been.
Others will reminisce about the past—when their teams were contending for Super Bowls and staging amazing comeback wins.
I’m one of those fans who does just that… a lot. Probably too much, actually.
In my random daydreaming, I came up with this list of the best comeback victories in Minnesota Vikings history.
I hope you enjoy!
Vikings vs. Bears (Dec. 1st, 1994)
Warren Moon hits Chris Carter with a 65-yard TD pass in overtime to beat the Chicago Bears on a Thursday Night Game on ESPN.
This Thursday Night Football game on ESPN started out as a seesaw game, until midway through the third quarter when Kevin Butler drilled a 29-yard field goal to give the Chicago Bears the lead.
Steve Walsh would then hit Greg McMurtry on a 15-yard TD strike that gave the Bears a 24-16 lead late in the third quarter.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, Fuad Reveiz would bang a 38-yard FG through the uprights to cut the lead to 24-19.
Then, late in the game, Warren Moon would drive the Vikes down field and hit Chris Carter on a 1-yard pass to take a 25-24 lead.
Moon would follow that up with a strike to Andrew Jordan for the two-point conversion and a 27-24 lead.
However, the Bears weren’t done; they marched down the field enough to get Butler into field-goal range—he knocked a 33-yarder through to tie the game as time expired.
Chicago won the coin toss and marched right down the field to get themselves in position for an overtime win, but Butler pushed a 40-yard FG attempt right and gave the Vikes new hope.
Two plays later, Moon would connect with Carter down the right sideline on a 65-yard pass, giving the Vikes a 33-27 OT win—literally snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
Vikings vs. Cardinals (Nov. 7th, 2010)
Brett Favre and the Vikings mounted a 14-point comeback late in the 4th quarter against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Vikings had been struggling the whole season up to this point, and this game would be no different.
Favre had thrown two INTs and was getting battered and bruised all game long.
When the fourth quarter hit, the Vikes found themselves down 14 points after a Jay Feely FG that made it 24-10.
After they turned it over on downs and then forced the Cardinals to punt, Favre rallied the troops and marched the offense down field. Adrian Peterson finally ended the scoring drought with less than four minutes to go, on a four-yard scamper to cut the deficit to 24-17.
Tough defense led by Jared Allen forced the Cards to punt it away again and Purple Moses took the field once more. This time it only took him 1:57 to take the team 77 yards on five plays. He hit Visanthe Shiancoe on a 25-yard pass down the seam that tied the game and forced overtime.
The Cards won the coin toss but went three and out, giving Favre another chance at some heroics.
He went 51 yards on six plays and Ryan Longwell came on to bury the 35-yard FG for the big comeback win.
This win marked the first time in franchise history that the team came back to win a game after being down at least 14 points with less than four minutes remaining in the game.
Vikings vs. Bears (Oct. 4th, 1992)
This will forever be known as the game where Jim Harbaugh lost his audible-calling privileges.
With the Chicago Bears (2-2) defense locking down Rich Gannon and Chris Carter—and Harbaugh and the rest of the offense doing enough to mount a 20-0 fourth-quarter lead—it looked as though they would hand the Minnesota Vikings (3-1) their second loss of the season.
However, all that was about to change when the Bears starting QB audibled out of a run play and threw a quick out that was picked off by Todd Scott. Scott ran back 35 yards for the score, giving the Vikes their first points of the game.
What would take place from there on out was a series of meltdowns on offense, including Coach Mike Ditka’s tirade on the sidelines directed at his QB.
Harbaugh would go back out, but he and the Bears were shut down by a rejuvenated Vikings defense and were forced to punt it away.
With the ball back and not much time, Gannon would finally connect with Chris Carter on a 16-yard strike that would cut the lead to 20-14. Again, the Bears were turned away on offense and were forced to punt.
Gannon would march right down field and get his team down to the 1-yard line. Roger Craig would do the rest as he punched it in for the game-tying score.
Fuad Reveiz would come on to kick the extra point and give the Vikes the lead and eventual win.
(No footage of game is available.)
Vikings vs. Browns (Dec. 15th, 1980)
The Miracle at the Met
It didn’t look as though Bud Grant would be getting the 11th division title of his career on this day, as the Cleveland Browns were all over the Minnesota Vikings early.
Calvin Hill started the scoring by hauling in an 18-yard pass from QB Brian Sipe to make it 7-0.
He would later add another TD on a 2-yard QB keeper to give the Browns a 13-0 lead.
Tommy Kramer and the Vikings finally got things going with a 31-yard touchdown to Joe Senser mid-way through the third quarter.
Both teams would trade field goals before the Browns final touchdown of the game coming real late in the third—a 1-yard run by Cleo Miller making the score 23-9.
Kramer took over in the fourth quarter with a 7-yard TD to Ted Brown and then a 13-yard strike to Ahmad Rashad late in the game.
Cleveland was forced to punt and kicked it into the end zone, giving the Vikings one last shot at their own 20-yard line and 14 seconds left.
What would happen from there was the reason this game was dubbed “The Miracle at the Met.”
Kramer took the snap and fired the rock to Joe Senser who would quickly lateral the ball to Ted Brown—the hook and latter was on and Brown raced up the sidelines and ran out of bounds at the Cleveland 46 yard line with four seconds left.
With one chance left, Kramer launched the ball down the right side of the field where Sammy White jumped up to make a play on it.
He and a defender tipped the ball and it landed in the arms of Ahmad Rashad, who waltzed into the end zone for the winning score.
Two Minute Tommy would give the Vikes a 28-23 win before a jubilant crowd at the old Met, and help Grant secure is 11th division crown.
Vikings vs. Packers (Sept. 26th, 1993)
In a game that featured Brett Favre’s second career rushing TD and seven combined FGs, the Minnesota Vikings pulled off an incredible game-winning drive over the Green Bay Packers, led by the one and only Jim McMahon (my favorite quarterback of all time).
I do have to say this: If you don’t like Jim McMahon, it’s not because there’s something wrong with him, it’s because there’s something wrong with you.
Anyway, back down memory lane we go.
Chris Jacke kicked a 20-yard FG late in the fourth quarter, which was thought to be the game winner, but it wasn’t so. The headband-wearing, mullet-rocking QB took the field with one timeout and just over a minute left.
With the Packers secondary focusing all their attention on Chris Carter, Anthony Carter and Steve Jordan, little-known rookie, Eric Guliford, was unaccounted for and blew past Terrell Buckley and found himself all alone down the field.
McMahon heaved it up on 3rd-and-10 and connected with Guliford on a 45-yard pass that got them down to the 5-yard line.
After calling their last timeout, Coach Dennis Green sent Fuad Reveiz out to bang home a 22-yard FG to get the 15-13 win.
Oddly enough, that was Guliford’s only catch in two seasons with the Vikings.
(No footage of play is available.)
Vikings vs. 49ers (Dec. 4th, 1977)
Footage of the Minnesota Vikings comeback against the San Francisco 49ers in 1977.
It was shaping up to be a rough day at old Metropolitan Stadium, as Jim Plunkett and the San Francisco 49ers jumped out to a 24-0 lead on the strength of two Delvin Williams' touchdown runs.
That score held until late in the third quarter when Bob Lee hit Brent McClanahan on a 15-yard pass that cut the lead to 24-7.
When the fourth quarter hit, Coach Bud Grant called upon rookie QB Tommy Kramer to come in and make something happen—and that is exactly what he did.
On his first series, he and Ahmad Rashad connected on an 8-yard TD, which got them to 24-14.
After a huge stop on defense, Kramer again threw an 8-yard strike—this time to Bob Tucker.
With the score 24-21, the stunned 49ers managed to work down the field and deep into Vikings territory. The defense was bending but did not break, forcing the Niners to kick a FG and giving Kramer one last chance at a miracle.
That miracle came in the form of a 69-yard bomb to Sammy White, who blew past everyone on defense and sprinted into the end zone to cap off the 24-point comeback win.
The final score was 28-27.
Vikings vs. Eagles (Dec. 1st, 1985)
Ron Jaworski was having a field day with the Minnesota Vikings defense. He put up 204 yards and two TDs as the Philadelphia Eagles jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead.
Wade Wilson struggled mightily in the first half and Coach Bud Grant pulled him in favor of Steve Bono. (That’s right people, Steve Bono.)
But with Bono going 1-10 for five yards and the Eagles pushing the lead to 23-0 with just over eleven minutes to play, Wilson was re-inserted into to the game and proceeded to hit Anthony Carter on back-to-back passes of 22 and 20 yards before hitting Allen Rice on a seven-yard score.
With the score 23-7, the Vikes defense came up huge as Keith Millard popped Jaworski hard and forced a fumble, which Willie Teal ran back 65 yards for the score. That cut their lead to 23-14 with six minutes remaining.
The Eagles got the ball back, but gave it right back as John Spagnola was stripped by Joey Browner. Wilson and the Vikes came out and immediately scored on a 36-yard strike to Carter with just under four minutes to play.
The Vikings defense came up big again, forcing the Eagles to punt and taking over at their own 40. After moving into Eagles territory, Wilson rolled out to his right and lofted a perfect spiral down the field and hit Carter for their second TD connection of the day—this one being the game winner.
The Vikings went on to win an exciting game 28-23 in front of just a few fans, after most of Veterans Stadium had already cleared out after the third quarter.
Vikings vs. 49ers (Sept. 27th, 2009)
Game-winning pass from Brett Favre to Greg Lewis against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 27th, 2009.
The 2009 meeting between the Minnesota Vikings (2-0) and the San Francisco 49ers (2-0) was a special game that only one person could make go down the way it did.
That person was Brett Favre.
With the ball on their own 20-yard line, 89 seconds left on the clock and no timeouts, Favre led his new team onto the field and began what would go down as one of the single greatest game-winning drives in Vikings history.
He completed five passes to the likes of Bernard Berrian, Visanthe Shiancoe, Sidney Rice and connected with Percy Harvin twice to get the ball down to the 49ers 32-yard line with 12 seconds left.
Favre took the next snap from John Sullivan and dropped back. He then rolled out to his right to avoid the rush, side-stepped a defender and tossed a laser that found Greg Lewis in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with two seconds left.
After the play was reviewed, the call stood and the Vikes won 27-24.
That play was a defining moment on a couple different levels: It signified the very reason he was courted to Minnesota. It also was a glimpse into what was about to be a very thrilling season that unfortunately fell an overtime field goal short of the Super Bowl.
Vikings vs. Rams (Dec. 27th, 1969)
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
The Minnesota Vikings (12-2) led by quarterback Joe Kapp squared off against opposing QB Roman Gabriel and the Los Angeles Rams (11-3).
LA was having their way with the Vikes as Gabriel would hit Billy Truax for his second TD pass of the game, and gave the Rams a 17-7 lead going into halftime.
The third quarter would see Dave Osborn (not to be confused with Super Dave Osborne), blast in from one yard out to cut the lead to 17-14. But, things wouldn’t get any easier for the Vikes as Bruce Gossett extended the lead to 20-14 with a 27-yard FG with just under five minutes remaining.
But the tough-minded Kapp took charge like he was known for doing and marched down the field and got his team inside the 5-yard line.
He called his own number and dove over a pile of Rams players on a 2-yard TD run that tied the game at 20 apiece. Fred Cox kicked the extra point that gave the Vikes the lead for good.
Carl Eller would add insult to injury by notching a safety on the Rams last possession and giving the Vikes a 23-20 win.
This game marked the first playoff win in franchise history.
(Game recaps courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.)
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