4 Vikings Deserve Game Balls after Historic Comeback

4 Vikings Deserved Game Ball after Historic Comeback

The Vikings pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL history on Saturday. Down 33 at halftime, the team didn’t give up and gifted anyone in the stands and at home a memory for their lifetime. Kevin O’Connell handed out a bunch of game balls in his first season, as the team has already won 11 games. In a few instances, he gave every player in the locker room a ball. Who were the best players in the victory over the Colts and deserved to get one?

K.J. Osborn

Lord Have Mercy. What Is This Team?
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

If there’s only one ball available, that should go to the wideout. Osborn, a third-year receiver, had the first 100-yard game of his career, and he couldn’t have found a better time for it. He led the Vikings in receiving yards with 157 on 10 catches.

His touchdown in the third quarter put the Vikings finally on the board. It was 33-6 after Cousins found him. The Vikings had six scoring drives, and Osborn caught at least one pass on five of them. The only exception was the one-play 64-yard touchdown catch from Dalvin Cook.

Osborn went into the season with high expectations after a surprising breakout campaign in 2021 and didn’t meet those expectations before the game against the Colts. However, his heroics in the epic comeback win won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

4 Vikings Deserved Game Ball after Historic Comeback

Chandon Sullivan

4 Vikings Deserved Game Ball after Historic Comeback
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chandon Sullivan. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The slot cornerback was a cheap free agent acquisition in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first offseason in charge of the Vikings. He’s playing an up-and-down season but had a memorable, but at the end, unsung day in the office. Sullivan recovered not just one but two fumbles and returned them for a touchdown.

Unfortunately, the referees blew both plays dead. The second was an absurd decision by the officials and deservedly got heavily criticized, as it almost cost the Vikings and the NFL the largest comeback ever. Deon Jackson lost the ball before being down, and he was called down for some inexplicable reason.

The Vikings subsequently got the ball at the spot of the fumble, and the offense turned the ball over on downs. The robbery of Sullivan should be remembered, and maybe the NFL should look into the mechanics of the referees calling plays dead too early.

Kirk Cousins

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The quarterback had a fantastic game, but his numbers don’t fully show it. He finished his day with 460 yards, the second most in franchise history, only trailing Tommy Kramer, who had 490 in 1986 in a loss against Washington.

Like all Vikings, Cousins had a rough first half. The second half, however, was a totally different story. Captain Kirk threw for 417 yards after halftime, the first player to throw for more than 400 yards after halftime since at least 1991. His arm might hurt after attempting 54 passes.

Overall, Cousins looked calm in the pocket, was decisive in his read, and took advantage of whatever the Colts gave him. Osborn and Jefferson combined for 22 catches, and Cook, Thielen, and Hockenson combined for another 10.

The only flaw in his game is the two interceptions that show up in the stats. Both picks can be attributed to receiver Jalen Reagor. The return specialist moved sideways on a pick-6 in the first half and stopped his route on a deep bomb in the fourth. Both picks could’ve been extremely costly, and Reagor was pulled for Jalen Nailor after his second mistake.

Greg Joseph

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The kicker had to endure harsh criticism all year, and most of that was deserved. Joseph led the league in extra points missed and had the league’s worst field goal percentage. However, on Saturday, he made all six of his kicks. Five were extra points, and he hit the game-winner in overtime from 40 yards.

He’s come up clutch for the Vikings multiple times over the course of the last two campaigns. Hopefully, he can build some confidence after his performance and be a reliable kicker in the postseason.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt