Vikings mount biggest comeback in NFL history, clinch NFC North after falling behind 33 points

The Minnesota Vikings rallied from 33 points down to beat the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 in overtime and clinched the NFC North in doing so.

The previous biggest comeback in NFL history was when the Buffalo Bills — led by Frank Reich, whom the Colts fired as head coach in early November — rallied from a 32-point deficit to beat the Houston Oilers in the 1992 season wild-card round.

A massive fourth quarter for the Vikings sent it to overtime

Trailing 36-28 late in the fourth quarter, Kirk Cousins launched a screen pass to Dalvin Cook, who ran 64 yards for a clutch touchdown.

Cousins then found T.J. Hockenson for the 2-point conversion and sent the game to overtime.

After both teams failed to score on their first possessions in overtime, the Vikings drove into field goal range and Greg Joseph nailed a 40-yarder to complete the historic comeback.

Per NFL Research, the last team to overcome a deficit of more than 24 points in a regular season game was a 2015 Washington team led by Kirk Cousins in Week 7, his iconic "You Like That?" win.

It looked bleak for the now-NFC North champions

The Colts haven't won under interim head coach Jeff Saturday since their first game together over a month ago, but they looked ready to end that skid from the moment the Vikings deferred the opening coin toss.

Starting with an impressive 49-yard kick return, the Colts kicked a field goal on their first drive. After the defense forced a three-and-out, former Vikings defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo blocked the ensuing punt and JoJo Domann scooped the loose ball up for a 24-yard return touchdown to give the Colts a 10-0 lead.

The Vikings couldn’t seem to catch a break as Dalvin Cook broke off a 40-yard run and then fumbled.

The Colts turned that into points with a Matt Ryan touchdown to take a 17-point lead, their largest all season. Two more field goals made it 23-0.

With almost 6 minutes left before halftime, Julian Blackmon picked off a pass intended for Jalen Reagor and ran it in for a touchdown. One final field goal before halftime plunged Minnesota in a 33-0 hole.

Momentum shifted in the third quarter

The tides began to turn with nine minutes left in the third quarter when K.J. Osborn made a big catch to put the Vikings in position for their first points of the game, and scored when Cousins found him again in the end zone.

The Vikings then marched down the field again and C.J. Ham made it touchdowns on back-to-back possessions with a minute left in the third quarter.

Vikings star wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who left the game briefly in the second quarter after a big hit by Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke, scored a touchdown to start the fourth quarter and bring the score to 36-21.

The Colts were nowhere to be found on offense in the second half, and Cousins found Adam Thielen for a 1-yard touchdown with 5:30 left to bring the Vikings within a score.

With three minutes left, Chandon Sullivan appeared to return a fumble for a touchdown, but it was nullified after the referees inexplicably ruled it a dead ball after he took possession.

That call seemed like the breaking point for the Vikings as Sullivan threw his helmet on the field and received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Minnesota ended up failing to convert a fourth-and-15, handing the ball back to the Colts with just under three minutes left.

But after Cook's 64-yard touchdown to send it to overtime, that dramatic moment became a distant memory as the Vikings fought to pull out the win.