Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune honed in on the fashion style of Stefon Diggs, but wrote that it is accompanied by substance.
*With his baby face and sleek outfit — black loafers, no socks, black pants, black turtleneck, gray checked jacket with a subtle patterned pocket handkerchief — Diggs could have passed for an aspiring jazz pianist playing one of the tonier Chicago hotels.
*Sunday, the Vikings rookie saved his improvising for Soldier Field's sandy turf, again displaying savvy beyond his years. For the third straight week, a fifth-round draft pick who was inactive for the Vikings' first three games might have made the difference between winning and losing. *
With the Vikings down by seven late, Diggs caught a pass at the 30-yard line after a quick break that may have helped the defender slip. He spun quickly and hit the gas to win the footrace for a game-tying 40-yard TD that sparked Minnesota's comeback victory. It was the longest play of Diggs' first four games, but Souhan called it the "biggest play of his young career."
Blair Walsh's last-second field goal made it Vikings 23, Bears 20, giving the Vikings their first victory in Chicago since 2007 and a reminder that you can't spell SOD (Steal of the Draft) without Diggs' initials.
As for Walsh, who hit his fourth game-winning kick and first outdoors, Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press* *wrote that the fourth-year kicker has "obliterated whatever doubts might have lingered about his kicking acumen following a sketchy preseason and opening month with a clutch performance."
"Those are the ones you dream about as a kid and what you work for every single week, to be put in these situations where the games come down to the wire and they depend on you," Walsh said. "You've done it so many times. You've been successful. You just need to continue to believe in yourself."
Murphy noted that Walsh also converted field goals from 48 and 43 yards and has made 13 straight kicks since his last miss Week 4 at Denver. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he knew Walsh was going to make the walk-off winner.
"The ball came off his foot good," Zimmer said. "You can tell when a guy is kicking the ball (well). There's a thump to it, and he thumped it pretty good. It was dead down the middle."
Fighting to the finish
Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com wrote that the contrast between the Vikings trip to Soldier Field in 2014 and the outcome Sunday illustrates gains in mental toughness and becoming the type of team Zimmer wants.
*The Vikings' loss at Chicago last season was one reason why Zimmer spent so much time harping on the need for his team to be tougher in the fourth quarter. Zimmer went out of his way last year to talk about how much he liked his team, but it was obvious the coach was looking for his players to be mentally tougher. *
*These Vikings appear to be inching much closer to what Zimmer wants, especially when it comes to a defense that more often than not is looking like it belongs in the upper echelon of this league. *
By the numbers
From the Star Tribune's Mark Craig, "Five Extra Points" from Sunday.
NFL.com's Kevin Patra had seven observations from the game, including Bridgewater's in-game bounce back.