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NFL100 Series: Top 10 Vikings Comeback Wins

EAGAN, Minn. – As part of the NFL’s celebration of its 100th season, Vikings.com is producing 10 different top 10 lists over the course of the 2019 season to help commemorate 100 special moments in franchise history. We’ll cover legendary players, rivalry games and miraculous moments alike.

First things first, Drew Pearson pushed off.

Several years before the implementation of instant replay, and decades before this first year of quasi-challengeable pass interference, the Cowboys receiver got away with a visible and vehement shove before catching a game-winning, 50-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach in the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs.

The play occurred at Metropolitan Stadium on Dec. 28, 1975, and birthed the term “Hail Mary,” a prayer flung skyward when time is limited. The play has helped and hurt the Vikings over the years.

That loss remains a burr in the saddle for Vikings fans, but against that backdrop, we thought we’d highlight comeback wins that went in Minnesota’s favor.

Note: When we planned this particular list for this week, we didn’t expect the Vikings to be bouncing back from a stinger like the one they suffered in Kansas City on Sunday.

For this list, I sorted through all of the comebacks in Vikings history and submitted 12 games for consideration. Vikings.com’s Eric Smith , Lindsey Young and I awarded 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second place, and so on. The two games with the fewest points were left out of the top 10.

Two of the top 10 occurred in playoff games, while others secured a postseason berth or helped put wind in the team’s sails.

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1. Minneapolis Miracle — 30 points

Jan. 14, 2018 vs. New Orleans Saints, NFC Divisional Round

Deficit in fourth quarter: 1

Go-ahead play: Stefon Diggs catches a 61-yard pass from Case Keenum.

Final score: 29-24

After effect: The Vikings won the first playoff game in the history of U.S. Bank Stadium and advanced to the NFC Championship.

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T-2. First Playoff Victory — 23 points

Dec. 27, 1969 vs. Los Angeles Rams, Western Conference Championship

Deficit in fourth quarter: 6

Go-ahead play: Joe Kapp runs for a 2-yard TD (Fred Cox kicks PAT) with 8:02 remaining. Carl Eller adds a safety.

Final score: 23-20

After effect: Minnesota advanced to host and win the 1969 NFL Championship the following week.

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T-2. Miracle at the Met — 23 points

Dec. 14, 1980 vs. Cleveland Browns

Deficit in fourth quarter: 14

Go-ahead play: Ahmad Rashad catches a 46-yard pass from Tommy Kramer as time expires.

Final score: 28-23

After effect: The win clinched the NFC Central title for the Vikings, but they lost in the opening round of the playoffs.

T-4. Largest in franchise history — 22 points

Dec. 1, 1985 at Philadelphia Eagles

Deficit in fourth quarter: 23

Go-ahead play: Anthony Carter catches a 42-yard touchdown from Wade Wilson with 1:11 remaining (Jan Stenerud kicks PAT).

Final score: 28-23

After effect: The win wound up being the final victory in a road game under Head Coach Bud Grant.

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T-4. Favre to Lewis — 22 points

Sept. 27, 2009 vs. San Francisco 49ers

Deficit in fourth quarter: 4

Go-ahead play: Greg Lewis catches a 32-yard pass from Brett Favre with 0:02 remaining (Ryan Longwell kicks PAT).

Final score: 27-24

After effect: Minnesota won its third of six in a row to start the season.

6. Erasing Da’ Deficit — 14 points

Oct. 4, 1992 vs. Chicago Bears

Deficit in fourth quarter: 20

Go-ahead play: Roger Craig runs for a 1-yard touchdown (Fuad Reveiz kicks PAT).

Final score: 21-20

After effect: Minnesota improved to 4-1, building momentum en route to an 11-5 mark during Dennis Green’s first year as the Vikings head coach.

7. Introduction to 2-minute Tommy — 11 points

Dec. 4, 1977 vs. San Francisco 49ers

Deficit in fourth quarter: 17

Go-ahead play: Sammy White catches a 69-yard touchdown pass from rookie Tommy Kramer with 1:38 remaining (Fred Cox kicks PAT).

Final score: 28-27

After effect: The victory was critical to Minnesota winning the NFC Central with a 9-5 record. The Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship Game.

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8. Snapping streak at Soldier Field — 9 points

Nov. 1, 2015 at Chicago Bears

Deficit in fourth quarter: 7

Go-ahead play: Blair Walsh kicks a 36-yard field goal as time expires to break a tie that was created with a 40-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Stefon Diggs with 1:49 remaining.

Final score: 23-20

After effect: The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak at Soldier Field and was the third of five consecutive wins by Minnesota en route to winning the NFC North.

9. First time for everything — 7 points

Nov. 5, 1989 vs. Los Angeles Rams

Deficit in fourth quarter: 3

Go-ahead play: After a 40-yard field goal by Rich Karlis with 0:08 remaining forced overtime, the Vikings secured a victory when Mike Merriweather blocked a punt in the end zone for a safety. It was the first time in NFL history that a safety had decided a game.

Final score: 23-21

After effect: Minnesota claimed the NFC Central with a 10-6 mark but lost in the first round of the playoffs.

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10. Rolling on the River — 3 points

Dec. 15, 2002 at New Orleans Saints

Deficit in fourth quarter: 7

Go-ahead play: Randy Moss catches a 13-yard pass from Daunte Culpepper with 0:05 left (Culpepper runs for a 2-point conversion).

Final score: 32-31

After effect: The win was the first of three consecutive to close Mike Tice’s first full season as head coach.

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