If You’re Still Stunned by the Vikings Win, Here’s Why.

Old Ways in Week 16
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; A Minnesota Vikings fan at Buffalo. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings mind-bogglingly defeated the Super Bowl-frontrunning Buffalo Bills, 33-30, on Sunday in a total thriller.

The game still feels a bit unbelievable, mainly because of the swings back and forth in both teams’ directions. But there’s a broader reason Vikings enthusiasts remained stunned on Monday morning, and unsurprisingly, it involves history.

Here’s the deal: two seismic events occurred in Week 10 at Highmark Stadium — one benefitting the Vikings per historical norms and the other embarrassing the Bills:

  1. Before Sunday, the Vikings had not won a road game in the regular season when trailing by 14+ points at halftime since 1985.
  2. Before Sunday, the Bills had lost a home game in the regular season when leading by 14+ points at halftime since 1968.
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

That’s 91 years of combined history absolutely uprooted on Sunday. And somehow, the Vikings ended up on the victorious end, a rare occurrence by a franchise known for a snakebitten biography.

The Vikings won a snazzy road playoff game in 1997 over the New York Giants after trailing by 14+ points at halftime — that game is severely underrated in Vikings history — but in the regular season, Minnesota does not mount road comebacks. Period.

But that changed in Buffalo, as the Vikings turned on the jets near the end of the 3rd Quarter. With the team on gridiron life support, Dalvin Cook chipped off an 81-yard touchdown, kickstarting an unforeseen comeback that will probably result in a Game of the Year ESPY.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. © JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK.

On December 1st, 1985, the Vikings entered the 4th Quarter at Veterans Stadium against the Eagles down 23-0. They rattled off 28 points in the final period and won 28-23. Minnesota had a 5-7 record at the time and didn’t qualify for the postseason tournament a few weeks later.

That was the last time the team circumvented a 14+ halftime deficit on the road in a regular season game. Yes, 37 years.

On November 10th, 1968, Bob Griese and his Dolphin pals overcame a 17-0 Bills lead at halftime inside War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo. The stadium was retired for Bills football four years later. The Dolphins won the game 21-17. Led by quarterback Kay Stephenson, Buffalo simply stopped scoring that Sunday afternoon.

So, that’s the state of play — probably why your jaw is still on the carpet. The Vikings rarely battle back from large road deficits. And the Bills don’t squander home leads.

Both worlds collided on November 13th, 2022, and the Vikings valiantly eviscerated 91 combined years of NFL history.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).