The Vikings are exorcising 60 years of demons over the course of the 2022 season.
The 12-3 squad moved to 11-0 in one-score games with Saturday’s 27-24 win over the Giants, which featured a walkoff 61-yard field goal from Greg Joseph as time expired. The win gave the Vikings the most one-possession wins in NFL history, breaking the previous record of 10.
This latest win was less dramatic than last week’s 33-point comeback against the Colts, but barely. There were several lead changes down the stretch and the Giants tied it with just two minutes left. But that was enough time for Kirk Cousins to drag the Vikings down the field and give Joseph the opportunity to kick the game winner.
— NFL (@NFL) December 24, 2022
The Vikings ran away with the NFC North this season and they still have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed that could be bolstered with Jalen Hurts missing time for the Eagles. But for the time being, they’ll have to be content with the No. 2 seed.
Minnesota has seen its share of clutch performances this season. Justin Jefferson set the Vikings’ receiving record Saturday, going for 133 yards and putting himself at 1,756 for the year. With that in mind, he has a legitimate shot of getting to 2,000 yards, even if it is a rather long one.
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Trade deadline acquisition T.J. Hockenson also had a solid game, hauling in a pair of touchdowns and 109 yards himself. Those two accounted for 242 of Cousins’ 299 passing yards.
“Trading for T.J. was such a great acquisition,” Cousins said after the game. “Once we lost Irv. Justin and Adam and K.J. and Dalvin and Alex — It’s a coach’s and a quarterback’s dream to have those kinds of players. Defense did a great job today, special teams, and it’s taking every phase to win. We’re finding a way.”
Vikings in one-score games
It bears repeating: The Vikings are 11-0 in one-score games this season, which sets an NFL record. Their only win that was by more than eight points came way back in Week 1 against the Packers, whom they beat 23-7.
|4||New Orleans Saints||28-25|
|9||Buffalo Bills||33-30 (OT)|
|11||New England Patriots||33-26|
|12||New York Jets||27-22|
|14||Indianapolis Colts||39-36 (OT)|
|15||New York Giants||27-24|
The current record is 14 one-possession games in a season, which was set by the Giants in 1994 and equaled by the Ravens in 2015.
What does this truly mean for the Vikings? The reality is, we won’t know until the postseason. But winning these games by the razor’s edge is the difference between a playoff team and a middling draft pick, so the Vikings are coming out on top.
Cousins said Harrison Smith told him the close games are molding the Vikings.
“We are battle-tested,” Cousins said Smith said. “That’s kind of the glass half full approach, certainly the playoffs will feel a lot more like this. So that should help.”
For the Vikings, the No. 2 seed is the most likely outcome, so they can prepare to face the No. 7 seed in Minnesota. If it’s the Commanders, Giants, or Lions, the Vikings have a one-possession win over them already. If it’s the Seahawks they’re going in without having played them, and they play the Packers next week to bookend that matchup.
The Vikings are an interesting team, to be sure. The question is will the luck run out? Or will they continue to pull these victories seemingly out of thin air in the postseason?