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Monday Morning Mailbag: 'Game of the Year' Title Bestowed on Vikings-Bills

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The Minnesota Vikings 33-30 overtime victory against the Buffalo Bills was so saucy that "GAME OF THE YEAR" started trending on Twitter.

Here's just a few thoughts from others to start us off…

There's a lot of season left and considerable work to be done.

Who knows what is to come, but the Vikings improved to 8-1, claimed their seventh one-score victory in a row and erased a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter for the third time during this streak.

Patrick Peterson iced it on the field and on the team plane.

The Vikings somehow came ahead after a wild sequence, and Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson turned in huge days before agreeing to some special jersey swaps.

Before we get to the questions, I'd also like to ask you to cast a vote for assistant special teams coach Ben Kotwica. The Army graduate who served for eight years flying Apache helicopters is Minnesota's nominee for the 2022 Salute to Service Award.

On to the questions (as a reminder, we'll update with more Monday).

Hey Guys,

What an exciting game. I thought it was over more than once. Amazed we pulled it out in OT. It was worth the trip to Highmark Stadium — that's for sure. Here are my 3 Ups and 3 Downs:

3 UPS:

1. Three-and-out stop to open the game followed by our opening scoring drive

2. Dalvin's TD run and Jefferson's clutch receptions

3. The three-and-out we needed in the fourth quarter to get the ball back


1. Wasted turnover before halftime. Third and fourth-down incomplete passes? The two worst called plays so far this season

2. Being stopped on fourth-and-a-half-yard for a TD with less than a minute left

3. Being stopped on first-and-goal from the 2-yard line when a TD would win in OT

I am amazed we won. Looking forward to the Cowboys.

— Respectfully, Jeff Ludwig

Jeff always manages to sum up Vikings games succinctly, even when he's on the road.

I actually did not travel this weekend. Colleague Lindsey Young made the trip for our editorial team.

Wherever you were, it was quite the game to see or hear.

The Vikings continue to start games well. That's 42 points this season on their opening possessions of games, but then there were some lulls and mistakes.

The defense allowed the offense to work through some things, and the offense responded with some game-winning-type plays.

I lamented the sequence before halftime when the Vikings tried passes on third- and fourth-and-2. The turnover on downs meant a possession that began at the Buffalo 37 did not yield any points.

Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell said he talked with right tackle Brian O'Neill after the series.

"I just wanted him to know I feel good about those plays, but I also feel good about running the football behind those guys, and I think it's important for those guys to know in those moments that I'm not always going to be perfect," O'Connell said. "I certainly try to call the best plays in certain scenarios, but I'm incredibly close with Brian, so I think I just caught him as we were getting ready to head in and kind of communicating, 'Hey, I'm coming right back to you guys. We're going to run it in the second half. We're going to run it however we need to,' and we were able to do that. With Dalvin Cook getting going a bit and that big run, I think that 81-yarder kind of sparked everything that transpired after that, so it was a huge moment."

Perfection is tough to reach, but it seemed like O'Connell had a really impressive response after a mistake.

View postgame celebration photos following the Vikings 33-30 win in overtime vs. the Bills at Highmark Stadium.

This is one of the most extraordinary football games I've ever seen! Congrats to the entire Vikings organization! NFL officials owe us a couple of apologies. When under center, Kirk must work on "quick feet" out of the snap! The QB sneak call at the goal line was, at the time, a bad call! But, as it turned out with then TD fumble recovery, A MOST FORTUITOUS CALL … SKOL!

— Randy in Las Vegas, Nevada

Cousins got tripped up not once but twice Sunday when his feet were stepped on by an offensive lineman. The first nearly became a turnover when the ball went flying backward to open Minnesota's second possession. Cook alertly pounced on it to avoid the turnover.

The second occurred in the fourth quarter after Minnesota had driven to the Buffalo 3. The sneak failed three plays and a penalty later.

But the botched exchange of the snap enabled Eric Kendricks to recover the football. Credit former Bills defensive lineman Harrison Phillips, who crossed the center just before the snap and got the initial surge.

I know that I have been a little bananas and have relied on you to be my Sunday morning football therapist. It comes from 52 years of faith followed by disappointment. I have to tell you I had this marked as a loss weeks ago, and I was obviously wrong. What a game, and what the hell to make of it, I don't honestly know. The best thing I have to say is at least they can't say we were playing their backup.

— Ty Bambach

View game photos of the Week 10 matchup between the Vikings and Bills at Highmark Stadium,

Always happy to help when I can. They play the games for a reason, and getting to the end of these has been quite the journey, but that locker room and Vikings sideline just hasn't blinked anytime it's faced a challenge in these past seven one-score games.

Wow. After watching that game and all the wildly improbable, unbelievable and just plain amazing plays that got the Vikings back into the game after all hope appeared to be gone, I have to ask, "is it possible they could never lose another game the rest of the season?"

— Curt Fahsholz in Valdosta, Georgia

This one was special ... A roller-coaster ride not for the faint of heart. Credit O'Connell for not losing his mind and keeping the faith with Cousins after some poor decisions on his part.

Only a couple of questions: Why didn't the ref give Hockenson a holding penalty against the Bills; and why was the that dubious catch by the Bills in the last 30 seconds not reviewed? Could've saved me a lot of stress.

If you've got to be good to be lucky, we're very, very good at the moment.

— SKOL, Nicholas Balkou

View pregame photos of Vikings players at Highmark Stadium on Nov. 13 ahead of the Week 10 matchup vs. the Bills.

Humility is always 60 minutes away, but I think we can say that the Vikings team that lost in Week 2 at Philadelphia has grown considerably through its rallies, including the past two weeks on the road.

The Vikings were venturing into another 17-point loss in the second- or most-challenging environment of the season so far. The outcome against the Eagles didn't repeat against the Bills.

I'll start by saying I think it's a tough job to be an official at any level, but the speed of the NFL makes it even more challenging.

The Hockenson play occurred in the second quarter two snaps after he had been flagged for offensive pass interference. I thought Hockenson did what he had to do to prevent an interception and earned that OPI. But two plays later, his jersey was held for multiple steps as he went after a touchdown.

No flag followed, and Minnesota opted for a field goal. I also wondered why there wasn't a helmet-to-helmet penalty for the hit Hockenson took while in the grasp of Bills defenders later in the game. Hockenson had to leave the field of play and undergo an evaluation because of the hit.

As for the Davis catch along the sidelines, O'Connell and the Vikings will be asking the league for an explanation for why that 20-yard reception was not reviewed. I couldn't believe it wasn't reviewed.

Lindsay Jones conducted a Pro Football Writers of America pool report with NFL Senior Vice President Walt Anderson. Here is the entire exchange between Jones and Anderson about the Davis catch:

Question: "Why was there no review initiated on the Gabe Davis catch from Buffalo on the final drive in regulation?"

Anderson: "It was a significant distance down the field. And even though it happens fast and Buffalo hurries to the line of scrimmage for the next play, if the replay official can't confirm it was a catch on that long of a completed pass, we should stop play to ensure it is a catch."

Question: "What was the failure there? Why was it not reviewed?"

Anderson: "We will spend a lot of time analyzing the video and audio with the crew. I'll have to find out from the replay official exactly what he didn't feel like he saw to stop the game."

Question: "So that would have had to be a booth review and then go to the league office in New York?"

Anderson: "Yes, because we are under two minutes it has to be a booth review. It cannot be a coach's challenge."

Question: "Did you all get a chance to look at that and do you believe it would have held up on review as a catch?"

Anderson: "We were able – several plays after – to look at all the angles. It would have been reversed to an incomplete pass because he did not maintain control of the ball after he hit the ground and the ball touched the ground out of bounds."

First off, Vikings country, let's sail.

But also, do you think the amount of injuries will affect us in our next game and the rest of the season? What are you thoughts on the legitimacy of this Vikings team?

— Connor in Minnesota

The Vikings haven't been hit has hard by injuries as some teams, usually making their way into the game with fewer players on the initial injury reports than opponents and usually ruling out fewer players than foes.

Minnesota's depth was tested within Sunday's game at some key positions.

Rookie Akayleb Evans started at the cornerback spot opposite Pate Pete, but he left the game because of a concussion. Evans, who was already filling in for Cameron Dantzler, Sr., was relieved by rookie Andrew Booth, Jr.

Dantzler was placed on Injured Reserve Saturday because of an ankle injury he suffered last week at Washington. Minnesota signed Duke Shelley to its 53-man roster on Saturday, and he came up with a pass breakup on the play before Peterson's closing pick.

The Vikings also had to call upon Blake Brandel after left tackle Christian Darrisaw left the game with a concussion.

Evans and Darrisaw will be under NFL protocols, so we won't know more about their availability for the Dallas game until later this week.

As for the legitimacy, I'll admit and date myself here, but MC Hammer's "2 Legit 2 Quit" popped into my head while working on postgame content Sunday.

What an incredible game. I thought the VIkings had lost several times, but this team does not quit! Even in their loss to the Eagles, the game was not out of hand. They keep coming up with plays in the fourth quarter.

This seems like it could be a special season but still much work to be done. I think the Vikings will continue to improve and build on their success as they have done all year.

Today's game was as exciting as the Minneapolis Miracle, and for us longtime Vikings fans, the 1980 game where Tommy Kramer hit Ahmad Rashad for the winning score vs the Browns.

— Kevin Farrell, Southern fried Vikings fan

Harrison Smith even mentioned how wild it was that Stefon Diggs (he didn't mention Case Keenum or Xavier Rhodes by name, but Keenum and Rhodes didn't play Sunday for Buffalo) was involved in yesterday's game and the Minneapolis Miracle.

That Miracle at the Met game was pretty incredible to go back and see the whole sequence of that comeback.

All three times involved snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

The questions and answers below were added after the Nov. 14 Mailbag was initially published.

OK, we're back at it. First off, apologies for the delay in updating the Mailbag. We're hitting the part of the schedule with three consecutive home games and five in six weeks, so other commitments like working on the Playbook game programs for those games are being juggled. We're finalizing the one for this week's Vikings-Cowboys game, creating content for the Thanksgiving matchup between Minnesota and New England and are somehow a little behind on planning and early execution of the Vikings-Jets game on Dec. 4. I absolutely love working on the publications, but three in a row is tough.

As you could imagine, the comments and questions came rolling in after the "instant classic" between the Vikings and Bills. There's a couple of other emails below that were not game-related (again sorry for the backlog).

I thought nothing could top the Minneapolis Miracle ... but I was wrong! This team simply does not give up. And the defense has quietly improved every week. Still a lot to improve on, but this has to be the signature win of the season. SKOL!!


So I'm returning to update the Mailbag on Tuesday morning with an NFL landscape that has two teams with 8-1 records, thanks to Washington's upset at Philadelphia on Monday night. The Eagles still hold the head-to-head tiebreaker, but the Vikings are further incentivized to keep rolling and try to earn the No. 1 seed for the NFC Playoffs. Much work remains, and I don't think this team will get caught up in anything like that, but it will be important for Minnesota to hold serve at home in these next three weeks. The Vikings have finished their non-division road games with a 4-1 mark but will travel to Detroit (Dec. 11), Green Bay (Jan. 1, 2023) and Chicago (Jan. 8, 2023) down the stretch.

As amazing as that game was — and equally entertaining — against impressive competition (a lot of people still believe Buffalo will have what it takes to play in February) and on the road, it only counts as one win.

Every victory can make the next game that much bigger. The Vikings have been able celebrate wild wins and return the following work week with keen focus during this stretch. They'll have to continue to do that, beginning with a Dallas squad that has won at U.S. Bank Stadium in each of the past two seasons.

Hello, I am a longtime Vikings fan. The comeback win was thrilling, no doubt about it. I've been watching the Vikings since 1968 and can recall only a handful of games that came close to comparing the win over the Bills. I think [O'Connell] has done a tremendous job getting the most out of the talent each player possesses. It is a lot of fun to watch.

My question for you is how the Vikings chose to play defense at the end of regulation in the last 41 seconds before overtime. I've watched a lot of prevent defenses over the years, and the idea is always to pinch the receivers toward the middle of the field and not let them get behind you. There are a lot of schemes that can make that happen. The Vikings secondary seemed to line up in a straight line, approximately 15 to 20 yards off the line of scrimmage, and backpedal, allowing Buffalo receivers to catch passes in the 10- to 15-yard range, and run out of bounds taking only 6 to 8 seconds off the clock. The result was futility bordering on disastrous. Why didn't the Vikings pinch corners up on the sidelines to take away the opportunity for Bills receivers to get out of bounds?

I understand the idea of keeping the play in front of the DBs. However, playing prevent has to at least put up some resistance. Buffalo was basically handed a field goal after navigating themselves to the red zone in 31 seconds of clock time. Thanks for taking this question, and I look forward to seeing the answer.

— Kevin

I do not understand having four linemen and the rest 10 yards [deep] before the snap. After the snap, all backs turn tail and run 20 yards deep or beyond the line, allowing 10-yard completions all day? I call it "prevent the win" defense. Perhaps the reason for so many close games. Poor defense at the end makes for thrilling entertainment, but sooner or later, the Vikes will get burned.

— Roger Bontems

Why did we go prevent defense when all they needed was a field goal? Seems we played soft at a time we should have been blitzing.

— Rolando Marin

Folks have been uneasy about the yardage allowed by the Vikings throughout the season. I've never coached football, but I don't love prevent defense at the end of the game when it's a departure from what a team has done to have the lead.

Make them make one more play is part of the fabric of this Vikings defense, and it's worked well with Minnesota being so opportunistic. I think the prevent defense in this setting was a slight adjustment to a core philosophy of this team. Allowing a field goal at the end of regulation would give Minnesota a chance in overtime with a considerable amount of momentum lingering from the wild fourth quarter, but there wouldn't be any coming back from a TD.

To Kevin's point, allowing a 69-yard drive in 39 seconds is less than ideal. Buffalo opened with passes of 12 and 8 to Dawson Knox, and the tight end got the sideline both times.

On second-and-2, officials awarded the 20-yard reception to Gabe Davis and later said it shouldn't have counted. The Bills should have faced third-and-2 from their own 40 with 17 seconds instead of first-and-10 at the Minnesota 40. HUGE difference there. The Bills then picked up another 15 on a pass with Isaiah McKenzie also getting out of bounds to stop the clock and a 14-yard pass interference penalty against Andrew Booth, Jr., that moved the ball from the 25 to the 11 with five seconds remaining.

Tyler Bass kicking the field goal was better than allowing a Bills player like Diggs or Davis to get behind the defense, so I think the Vikings opted to shift resources from the sideline toward the back.

Kudos to Minnesota for not allowing a single touchdown after halftime. That's not a small accomplishment against that team in that venue.

And, just a follow-up on Rolando's point, Za'Darius Smith was playing through a knee contusion at the end of the game. That probably slowed down the rush somewhat or maybe affected Minnesota's approach a bit.

Has anyone come up with a name for J.J.'s catch on fourth-and-18 like Immaculate Reception or Minneapolis Miracle?

— Steve Beeman

Love this question and open to ideas. I'm usually better with a bit of text to work with instead of a short slogan.

I know there's going to be a lot better out there, but I humbly submit "Jettas' Landing" to play on his Twitter handle (@JJettas2) and pay homage to how impressed I am that our service members can land a jet on an aircraft carrier in an ocean. The high-pointing of the football was elite, but the part during the landing was otherworldly.

What other options did the Bills have besides going for first down and eventually fumbling it [on the Vikings] touchdown?

— Luis de Leon

Buffalo opted to line up Allen under center instead of in the shotgun. Given Allen's strength and size as a runner, the Bills thought their best approach would be running the quarterback sneak, almost a snap and lean to get just a bit of breathing room — and probably do the same one play after Minnesota exhausted its final timeout.

The Bills could have gone with any formation, but running a play laterally would run the risk of getting a safety, which would have been two points (making it 27-25 Bills) and forcing a free kick from the 20-yard line, with Minnesota only needing a field goal for the win.

They also could have put Allen in the shotgun and let him take a shot at a short pass, but the risk of a safety or interception come into play.

Buffalo instead went with what it thought was its surest bet, but the Vikings kept believing the game wasn't over. Here's a screenshot of Next Gen Stats' win probability graph from the game.


Jefferson's catch on fourth-and-18 sent Minnesota's chances from 13 percent to 34 percent.

After Cousins was tackled on the sneak inches shy of the goal line, Buffalo's chances were at 99 percent. The fumbled snap recovered for the touchdown dropped it to 22.

My son Gary Winokur has been a Vikes fan since the age of 10. He is now 59, and I am 82. About 10 years ago, he got me interested in following the Vikings. I have been hooked ever since. Gary and I are so proud of their progress this year.

My son attends one game in Minnesota every year. Of course they did win this year when he was there. I will admit, that many times, the Vikings make me sit at the edge of my chair, keeping fingers and toes crossed, until the last second.

I did get to watch the Minnesota Miracle WOW💜💜💜💜💜

Let us all hope for more Vikes wins and a Super Bowl win for the finale.

Love and SKOL from an 82-years-young-devoted fan.

— Merle Winokur from Bedford Hills, New York

I hear so often about fans getting hooked on football from watching with their parents or even grandparents, but this reversal is great, too.

Love the connections that can happen through sports within and beyond families. It helps me stay connected with some friends, too — Jesse Trout in Clarksville, Tennessee, for instance.

Hopefully, Merle, your son warned you of the potential stressors of Vikings games before you committed so heavily. Regardless, we appreciate the support from you and Gary. I can assure you that you are not the only one on the edge of the seat.

I've been a fan for as long as I can remember and was finally able to make it to my first game. So glad that this one was able to be my first and we came away with the W. Great effort till the end. SKOL.

— Bryce Morse from Rochester, New York

That one had so many remember-where-you were moments, so it's awesome for it to be the first you were able to attend in person. Thanks for making it, but please don't expect all of the ones you attend in the future to be the same.

Just gotta say the coaching staff and the coaching methods are amazing. Seems like Kevin is focused on what's best for the players rather than a "Do it my way or the highway." Yes, we still have some problems. Who doesn't? But working as a unit is working. Love it. Keep up the faith and stay liquid. SKOL. SKOL. SKOL.

— CJ Chernernko (fan since 1999)

This year has, to this point, been beyond expectations for the Vikings. There have been accolades for all the team members. However, has Coach O'Connell entered the conversation for Coach of the Year? It just seems to me that he has a tremendous amount to do with the Vikings success. Your thoughts?

— Ed in Denver

It's quite an incredible start for O'Connell and his staff. He and the personnel department can be credited for assessing who they had on the roster and developing a strategic plan for free agency and the draft.

Everyone's got talent in the NFL, so then it's about, as O'Connell says almost to the beat of the SKOL Drum, being at your very best when it's required.

Part of that is trying to manage the physical toil on players before the season even begins. Another part is laying the foundation.

Special Teams Coordinator Matt Daniels often mentions how he sees this squad as a player-led unit instead of a coach-led unit, pointing out coaches aren't the ones between the lines during the game.

The staff's ability to put together touchdown drives on opening possessions in road games has been a huge benefit, and the Vikings have continued to prosper in fourth quarters by making their own breaks or capitalizing on the mistakes of other teams. But to a man, you can tell the players have tremendous faith in each other.

Lastly, one thing I've observed is how loose this team is during the parts of Friday practices open to media and at other times. That doesn't mean they don't lock in at the right times. It just means they have some outlets to manage the weekly stresses and then somehow aren't stressed when the rest of Vikings Nation is on game days.

I saw O'Connell juggle a few tennis balls (used for a linebackers' hand-eye coordination drill) days before defeating Green Bay in Week 1. This past week, defensive lineman Ross Blacklock was casually heaving a football to Eric Kendricks from sideline to sideline across an end zone during a special teams period. Blacklock has an arm (already knew Kendricks did).

O'Connell seems to have a demeanor that won't get swept up by the success so far or get too concerned with external recognitions (we can probably thank the coach who drafted him, six-time Super Bowl Champ and three-time Coach of the Year Bill Belichick, in part for that). I do believe he has to be strongly considered when people who have votes on the matter make those decisions.

Could someone PLEASE braid T.J.'s hair and get a side picture of him? He looks just like the Vikings logo.

— Barb T. in Bloomington

I'm glad I read this one pre-sip of my Caribou coffee because Barb included a huge logo to go with the email and I don't have a way to clean my screen effectively right now.

We might be able to check with T.J. on his willingness for a special photoshoot. One thing is for sure: He looks the part of a player able to be a difference-maker for the Vikings, adding a huge target who runs well, is uber tough, able to secure contested catches and blocks effectively.

In two games, Hockenson has caught 16 passes for 135 yards on 19 targets, and his quick grasp of Minnesota's offense has left all things available.

It seems that the Vikes are falling into a pattern of throwing inside the opponents' 5-yard line. What happened to using C.J. Ham to block for Cook?

Rarely saw Ham following a week when the Jets ran all over the Bills.

— Tim Grivna

I think there's an adage that teams who can run in the red zone score touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.

The Vikings were just 1-for-4 in the red zone (Ham's 3-yard touchdown) in Buffalo. Somehow, that was still good enough because Minnesota's defense limited Buffalo to a 3-for-6 showing and the Vikings got the Kendricks touchdown.

The first-and-goal from the 3 where Cousins got stepped on and fell coming out from center likely altered Minnesota's approach on the drive that ended just shy of the goal line. The Bills had 12 defenders on the field (not flagged by officials) when Cook was stopped for a loss of 3 on first-and-goal from the 2.

Ham played seven snaps on offense and 21 on special teams, and he made the most of his time on the field.

I think the Vikings running game is continuing to take shape but we've seen some real signs of progress with explosives. Also can't understate how important it was to start overtime with ground gains of 10 and 9.

Been a Vikings fan since a kid in Jamestown, North Dakota & want to say that as good as the Vikes are, and they are no doubt one of the top echelon teams. [Greg] Joseph scares me somewhat & could be the death of us so to speak. It's not that he can't make a winning kick now & then. It's more that he has somewhat of a stigma when it comes to simple PATs. That will not bode well in the playoffs. What the heck can the Vikes do to straighten out his head? GO VIKES!!!!

— Clay in Texas

What wound up being the game-winner by Joseph happened to be through the same uprights he had hit on a miss after the Ham score. Instead of a 3-point deficit with 4:34 remaining, the Vikings had to have a touchdown.

The winner also was from the same distance that PATs are now attempted from (unless there's a penalty), so Joseph definitely bounced back within the game from the one mistake.

Kicker might be the only position where perfection is expected on every play because it can't be masked. Those 33-yard PATs are no longer gimme putts. I'm sure Joseph wants to make them all and knows how important they are for momentum and scoreboard math.

What a win, and I hope we stop hearing the whining about having to win at the end. The NFL is designed for parity, which means a lot of games are designed to come down to near the end to be settled. But three things come to mind after this string of wins and particularly Sunday's:

1. Offensively, we have as much firepower as anybody else in the league, and we aren't afraid to use it. Some of the plays came from simply what guys can do sometimes (the touchdown run by Cook, for example), and some were incredible catches (especially by Jefferson but not only him), and against very good coverage.

2. Defensively … in the NFL, the rules and talent mean you can very seldom completely shut down an offense, but if you have a strong offense, you can still win if your defensive players do their jobs, even if they can't stop everything.

3. And the defense did just that, as they've done in most other games — when they could make key plays they did — and the number of different players on the Vikings who made key plays was significant. So I don't think our defense is all that suspect; they get their share of big plays.

What a start! And let the naysayers dream of a bygone era. This team and the new front office and coaches inherited a lot of good players but have done quite well in bringing in other talent, too.

Let's give them credit!

— Brad Lewis in Schenectady, New York

Couple of good observations here from Brad about the value of superstars like Cook and Jefferson (and surefire Hall of Famer Patrick Peterson) but the even greater importance of playing as a team.

There's moments where the game just has to be put in a superstar's hands, but there are other times when unsung players can deliver heroic performances.

The Vikings have won a lot of different ways during this streak, and that just continues to boost confidence.

The Vikings defense got stretched to the max but somehow did not break. They played another storybook game, and I went through another bottle of antacids. The big question is can they maintain this or will they have a letdown game after a big road win against the Bills and now face a hungry Cowboys team at home. They are truly a Cinderella story right now, but can they get the glass slipper they long for? We shall see.

— Mr. Bill K. (fan since 1965 from North Carolina)

In addition to avoiding the letdown after such an exhausting win, the Vikings will face a Cowboys team trying to stay in striking distance of the NFC East. I don't know if there will be any good or bad residuals from Dallas blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead for the first time ever (now 195-1 all-time) last week at Lambeau.

Both teams are coming off overtime games, and both will have to rebound right after Sunday to play on Thanksgiving. Another big challenge is another great opportunity.

It's me again … Just coming back down to Earth after that UNBELIEVABLE game! SKOL VIKES!!

*They aren't who I thought they were. I'm beginning to think maybe these Vikings are the NFL's big brother. You know, the big brother who spots the little brother 5 in a 10-point game of backyard ball. It seems like every game, we come out strong, take a couple quarters off, and then "BAM! POW!" we show the little brother who had the best game all along. *

J.J. is a baller. Amazing catch to cast shade on the one-handed grab Diggs had earlier. Tough game. Tough opponent. Hope they don't suffer from a hangover from this huge win, as next week is another very tough defense in Dallas.

Once again … SKOL VIKES!!!


— Weston Gregg

I had corresponded with Weston and included some comments of his in a previous Mailbag. Think he's got a pretty good analogy here, except it might be a bit more of the other team being able to do some great things on a football field, too. Diggs' catch was amazing and would have been on the replay reel nationwide until it was supplanted by Jefferson's. Cool to see the way each of those players respects the other's game.

After seeing one Diggs, the Vikings will have another with Trevon possibly covering Jefferson a good bit this week.

First time writer, long-time reader. What about Mr. Evans' play against Washington? In my opinion, we found a real baller and potential solid corner for us. Your thoughts?

— Rocky in Bismarck, North Dakota

First off, appreciate the reads! Akayleb Evans did an incredible job against Washington. He stepped right in for Cameron Dantzler, Sr., and was tested multiple times — and passed every test.

It is so important to have success in the later rounds of the draft because teams usually only get a couple of picks through the first two days every year. That's where the incredibly immense amount of work done by the scouts and a GM's ability to navigate the draft board come into play. Heck of a showing by Evans, who was playing well again in Buffalo when he left the game in concussion protocol.

That led to the first significant amount of plays on defense for fellow rookie Andrew Booth, Jr., whom the Vikings also feel good about and a few snaps for veteran Duke Shelley, who signed to Minnesota's practice squad after his release by Chicago before the season started. Shelley signed to the 53-man roster on Saturday and came up with a huge play before Peterson's dagger.

View Vikings in Big Head Mode during the thrilling overtime win over Buffalo at Highmark Stadium.

Do you have any information how high the chances are to see the Vikes in Germany at some point? I realize they just had an overseas game, so they won't be back on our side that soon again, but I just wondered if you knew more than what I could find online (which is nothing). Hope the NFL has a great time in Germany and will keep hosting games here for quite a while, even though the kickoff time isn't a good spot for you guys, I suppose.

Stay healthy, thanks for all your work,

— Alexander Markhart in Germany

Alexander was one of our fans who traveled to London earlier this season and made Tottenham Hotspur Stadium electric and unforgettable.

Our emails have been delayed, going through filters and such, but he had reached out last week ahead of Tampa Bay "hosting" and defeating Seattle in Munich this past Sunday. The Buccaneers, Chiefs, Panthers and Patriots were the four teams who were awarded international home marketing rights to Germany last December.

I'd expect those teams would be the ones at the front of the line to participate as the home team in the next few seasons when games are held in Germany.

The Vikings, Bears, Jaguars, Dolphins, Jets and 49ers were awarded marketing rights to the United Kingdom, so I'd expect those teams to be candidates to be a home team in the not-too-distant future.

It seemed like the atmosphere for the first regular-season game in Germany was incredible from everything I was able to catch, and I know the Vikings have tremendous support there and beyond.

I know that's not much beyond what you already know, but I guarantee we'll let you know as soon as we can about our next international game.

Editor's Note: I'm closing by lumping the next few comments from fans together to share their thoughts since I opened with some immediate takes on Twitter. Appreciate everyone's comments.

Been a HUGE Vikings fan since 1970. Have seen many up and down games. 1980 Cleveland game we won, Minnesota Miracle, 1998 NFC Championship loss. But what I witnessed [Sunday] was the craziest, heart-wrenching, most-exciting game I have ever watched. Congrats to this Vikings team. One of best Vikings teams I've seen. Sky is the limit.

— John Heil

I have to eat my words!

Several weeks back I was discouraged by the Vikings play and thought they could not compete with a team like Buffalo.

Now I have renewed faith that this team is for real.

— Richard Plumley in Amherstview, Ontario, Canada (75-year-old, lifelong Vikings fan)

As a longtime Vikings fan since the '70s, I'm amazed at how much a difference a year makes! Last year would have NEVER pulled out these types of wins. I can't remember a season like this in last 50 years! Can we erase the curse of 1991? All the lost Super Bowls? Congrats to an unbelievable win and season so far. Stressed each week but hoping I finally see a Super Bowl win in my lifetime.

— Frank Donato

We have been waiting many years for a season such as this! So exciting and fun to watch. Have been a Vikes loyal fan for 50 years, even though I live on the Southern Oregon Coast. Congrats to all involved!

— Heidi Hunter

Fantastic performance. Thank you from all the guys/girls here in Tennessee's Nashville Norseman of the South. Appreciate the effort and the due diligence you guys showed against Buffalo. Outstanding performance. And, too, the Wilf's organization. Thank you.

— Mr. Marcus Eason

I'm SO proud of our VIKINGS team! Thank you all for the relentless energy and determination to continue to be all you can be!!!

Putting MN back on the MAP!

— Elizabeth Stephens

Best Vikings game I have ever seen!!! SKOL!!

— Kathy from Pensacola, Florida


— Gayle Haack

Subject: Best Rocky movie ever.

I am a 71-year-old and a forever Viking fan. This team, win or lose, is the classiest team ever. There are no losers on this team, but I would ask that you have it all under control by the third quarter — ain't gonna happen. Another Rocky movie will be made, but this last one is the best I have ever seen.

— Earl Fashbaugh

I have always known the Vikings had grit. Sunday's game shows that determination. I've followed the Vikings since the days of Fran. What a game, what a team.

— Paul in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

I have been a Vikings fan my entire life, and I will never believe we're going to win until the time has run out and we have the lead … haha!

Anyways, I would like to give credit to Kirk Cousins for making some unbelievable throws!

Skilled Vikes!

— Larry from California

OK — I have written many times this year (some of which you have published) complaining about our inconsistent offense and terrible defense. It is now with extreme humility I write and say — WHAT A GAME!! AMAZING! Kudos to ALL players (even Joseph)! What a team win!

— Tom from Maine (60+ year fan - and still going!)

More a thought than a question, but that was the most exciting win since the [Minneapolis] Miracle, and to think Stefon was in the game.

Skol from Ontario, Canada

— Dennis Buchanan