ORCHARD PARK, New York – It's not over until … Patrick Peterson says so.
On the final play of Sunday's game in Buffalo, after a crazy sequence of events resulted in the Vikings and Bills facing off in overtime, Josh Allen fired toward the end zone – and Peterson intercepted the ball intended for Gabe Davis.
The takeaway clinched a Vikings 33-30 win over the Bills in overtime.
"They came out and just ran a simple Dover scheme, a Dover (deep over) concept with the No. 1 receiver running a deep in, the tight end motioned over from the three-receiver side to create the 2-by-2 and tried to clear out the safety," Peterson explained. "And the quarterback kind of knows, in red zone, a lot of teams play quarters in that situation. And with me understanding where the ball was, being away from it, it's hard for the quarterback to throw it back into the field; it's always easier for the quarterback to throw the ball coming back into his vision.
"I knew that, and I just undercut the dig [route] and sealed the game," Peterson added.
It's honestly hard to put Sunday's game at Buffalo – particularly another fourth quarter in which the Vikings clawed their way back – into words. But one word describes this Minnesota team that's now won its seventh straight game: Belief.
View postgame celebration photos following the Vikings 33-30 win in overtime vs. the Bills at Highmark Stadium.
Even Vikings safety Harrison Smith, typically defined by a rather stoic demeanor, was all smiles postgame as music blared throughout the visitors' locker room at Highmark Stadium.
"We would have liked to have won in regulation. So we'll go back and see what we can do better there," he acknowledged.
"But this guy just always talks about how we're going to win," Smith said, gesturing to a dancing Peterson beside him. "He was talking about it before he made that play."
It's a mentality Peterson has held all season and spreads throughout the locker room.
"We believe we are a really, really good football team, and we believe in one another," he said. "And it showed again today."
The pick was Peterson's second of the day – and second in the paint.
He also intercepted Allen early in the fourth quarter, when the quarterback threw to Dawson Knox on fourth-and-2. Peterson bobbled the ball for a brief moment before running it out of the end zone and to the Vikings 34-yard line.
"I just stepped in front of that one," Peterson said.
Minnesota's defense experienced its highs and lows throughout the afternoon, working to contain Allen, former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs and running back Devin Singletary.
There were some missteps along the way, with the Vikings at one point trailing by 17 points. But the unit never gave up.
"There were a lot of things happening. We just tried to settle down, tried to get to work," Eric Kendricks said. "We just kept battling. People count us out, but we come back."
Kendricks also starred in one of the day's crazier moments.
With just 49 seconds remaining on the clock and the Bills holding a 27-23 lead, Allen fumbled the snap in the end zone. The loose pigskin was recovered by Kendricks, counting as a touchdown for Minnesota. The Vikings unfortunately allowed the Bills to drive down and kick a field goal, however, which led to the overtime situation.
"We just kind of tried to hang on," Kendricks said. "At one point, I just stopped looking at the scoreboard. I just knew we had to go back out there and stop them.
"We just keep fighting. Everybody's bought in, everybody's calm on the sideline, everybody's together," he added. "We're just getting the job done."
Kendricks led the Vikings with 10 tackles on the day, followed by Chandon Sullivan's nine.
A number of defended passes kept Minnesota in the running: two from Sullivan, one from Smith, two from Peterson, a breakup apiece for Jordan Hicks and Za'Darius Smith, and then a game-saving play by Duke Shelley, who was elevated from the practice squad Saturday and played his first defensive snaps for for Minnesota on Sunday.
For the Bills, Allen led with six attempts for 84 rushing yards; Singletary had just 47 yards on 13 carries but scored two rushing touchdowns. Allen finished the day 29-of-43 passing for 330 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was sacked by Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter, and his final passer rating was 78.6.
Diggs topped the Bills receivers with 12 catches for 128 yards.
The Vikings were without Cameron Dantzler, Sr., who was added to Injured Reserve Saturday. He was replaced by rookie Akayleb Evans, who forced a fumble of Singletary in the second quarter that was recovered by Camryn Bynum.
Evans later left the game with a concussion and was replaced by fellow rookie Andrew Booth, Jr.
Booth, who tallied two tackles, said he wasn't satisfied with his overall performance but appreciated the opportunity to get more experience on defense.
He especially appreciated the shining moment by Peterson, whom he's been learning from since arriving in Minnesota.
"When you can watch Pat Pete, the greatest to do it, it's amazing," Booth said. "He makes plays like that consistently. We expect that. It's not a 'wow' thing; he's gonna come through every time."
Kendricks shared similar sentiments of Peterson.
"That's All-Pro Pat, you know what I mean? He's been doing it for the longest time, and he's one of the best players there ever was in the NFL in my opinion," Kendricks said. "He's … really hitting his stride. Let's see what he does the rest of the year."
Sunday's road win improved the Vikings to 8-1 on the season.
View game photos of the Week 10 matchup between the Vikings and Bills at Highmark Stadium,
Critics across the NFL said the Bills would be a true test for Minnesota to determine if the team is "for real." So, was Sunday a statement win?
"Look at us now. That's all I can say," Peterson said. "All we want to do is continue [this success]. We're not trying to prove them wrong; we just want to continue to prove ourselves right."
The Vikings aren't paying attention to any outside opinions; after all, it's what is inside the organization that truly matters.
"People want to doubt us? Let them. We know what's in the building. We know what we've got in the locker room," Kendricks said. "We're just gonna keep fighting; we're gonna keep working on us, and we're gonna go on to the next week.
"We're gonna enjoy this win, obviously, as we should," he added. "But we're gonna get back to work like we have been doing."