Minnesota Vikings: Comeback Win over Jaguars Could Provide a Spark

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Minnesota Vikings: Comeback Win over Jaguars Could Provide a Spark
Andy King/Getty Images
Could Christian Ponder's performance late in Sunday's season opener be a catalyst for a surprising season?

The Minnesota Vikings opened the 2012 season Sunday afternoon with a 26-23 overtime victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

While it's easy to nitpick over the offense's ineffectiveness in the first half and the defense giving up another late-game drive, the victory could mean bigger and better things for the Vikings.

Think about where this team was at one season ago. The Vikings opened up a 17-7 lead over the San Diego Chargers in the 2011 season opener, only to blow it and lose, 24-17.

The Vikings provided an encore the following week when they led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home as they opened up with a 17-0 lead at halftime. Thirty minutes later, the Bucs raced back and the Vikings suffered their second straight defeat, 24-20.

Things had to have been better in the third week of the season, but they weren't. The Detroit Lions came to town and the Vikings opened another 20-point lead going into halftime only to see Matt Stafford tear it to shreds in another 26-23 overtime loss.

The excruciating 0-3 start doomed the Vikings from the beginning, and the team went on to tie the worst record in franchise history at 3-13.

What's encouraging about Sunday's game is that after the Vikings were punched in the mouth by Blaine Gabbert's 39-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts with 20 seconds left, they got right back up and marched down the field with their young quarterback Christian Ponder.

The drive by Ponder set up a game-tying 53-yard field-goal attempt by rookie kicker Blair Walsh, who was a point of discussion when the Vikings let Ryan Longwell go in an effort to go younger at the kicker position.

The new kicker not only nailed the game-tying field goal in regulation, but also hit a 38-yard field goal to give the Vikings a game-winning score in overtime.

It's only the first game of the 2012 season, but the Vikings may have set a completely different tone that could give the team unexpected success as the season rolls along.

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