Jan 13, 2023 - Sports

The strangest Vikings season reaches the playoffs

Greg Joseph

Kicker Greg Joseph celebrates a game-winning field goal over the Colts. Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

For decades, Minnesotans have watched some really good Vikings seasons wrecked by a mix of bad luck and boneheaded late-game mistakes.

Why it matters: The team that takes the field Sunday for a first-round playoff matchup against the New York Giants is the antithesis of 62 years of Vikings football. They've played their best football when the game is on the line, and they've been helped by a little luck.

Catch up quick: The Vikings finished the season with a 13-4 record despite being outscored by their opponents, a fact that has most NFL experts scratching their heads.

  • They miraculously beat the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 13 thanks to a circus catch by Justin Jefferson and a shocking goal-line fumble recovery when the game appeared over.
  • The Vikings also pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL history, rallying from a 33-point deficit against the Indianapolis Colts to win 39-36 in overtime.

Yes, but: They were blown out by the Eagles (24-7), Cowboys (40-3) and Packers (41-17), which is why Vikings fans are understandably nervous going into Sunday's game.

Sizing up the competition: The Giants finished their season 9-7-1 and have won just three of their past 10 games. They lost to the Vikings on Dec. 24 when kicker Greg Joseph nailed a team-record 61-yard field goal to give Minnesota the win.

The atmosphere: This is the Vikings' first home playoff game in five years. Coupled with a 3:30pm start time (plenty of time for boozing), U.S. Bank Stadium should be raucous.

The bottom line: Soon, we will find out if it's better to be lucky than good.

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