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Another miracle: Vikings stun Giants 27-24 on Greg Joseph’s 61-yard field goal

The Vikings (12-3) remained in position for the No. 2 seed in the NFC with two games remaining.

NFL: New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) in the first quarter against the New York Giants on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Another day, another Minnesota Vikings miracle.

Greg Joseph drilled a 61-yard field goal on the final play to give Minnesota a 27-24 victory over the New York Giants on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium. It was the longest field goal in the 62 seasons of the franchise, breaking the mark of 56 yards that Joseph held with Blair Walsh and Paul Edinger.

After Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson and wide receiver Justin Jefferson were named to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday, both put on a show Saturday.

It was the latest wild celebration in a season that has had many for the Vikings (12-3), who are an incredible 11-0 in one-score games. And some of those wins would seem to fit in the miracle category.

The Vikings won last month at Buffalo 33-30 in overtime in a game they seemed certain to lose until Eric Kendricks pounced on a Josh Allen fumbled snap in the end zone late in regulation. Then last weekend they fought back from a 33-0 halftime deficit to defeat Indianapolis 39-36 in overtime in the biggest comeback win in NFL history.

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On Saturday, Joseph broke the team record by five yards with his game-winning kick. Then again, perhaps these types of endings are becoming routine for the Vikings.

NFL: New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph celebrates his game-winning field goal after the game against the New York Giants on Saturday in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 27-24 and are 11-0 in one-score games this season, an NFL record.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports

“After all these weeks, is it still a miracle?’’ Minnesota linebacker Jordan Hicks asked. “A miracle is something you can’t explain but this has been explained how many times?”

In other words, when the game is on the line this season, the Vikings always win.

“They’re prepared in those moments to find a way,’’ Minnesota coach Kevin O’Connell said of his players. “No matter how much time, no matter the urgency no matter the situation, hopefully we’ve repped it, talked about it, practiced it, acknowledged the difficulty and accepted the challenge to go get it done. I think that’s what our team has done a lot of this year in those moments.”

Saturday’s win came after the Giants (8-6-1) scored on a 27-yard run by Saquon Barkley and then got a two-point conversion pass from Daniel Jones to Daniel Bellinger to tie the score 24-24 with 2:01 left. The Vikings got the ball back and quarterback Kirk Cousins soon threw a 17-yard screen pass to Jefferson, who took it to the Giants 42. Cousins then spiked the ball with 4 seconds left and out trotted Joseph, who said he “put a good foot to it.”

“I told G-Money to take us home,’’ said safety Josh Metellus. “Christmas Eve, we’ve all got families. I’m trying to get home to my wife and son, I told him, ‘Take us home.’ ”

Metellus was one of many Minnesota stars. He had a blocked punt with 4:02 left that gave the Vikings the ball on the Giants 29, and they soon scored on a 17-yard pass from Cousins to Jefferson for a 24-16 lead with three minutes remaining.

NFL: New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins throws the ball against the New York Giants on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Minneapolis. Cousins was 34-for-48 passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings' 27-24 win.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports

Jefferson caught 12 passes for 133 yards and broke two team records. He now has 1,756 yards to top Randy Moss’ 2003 team mark of 1,632 yards receiving in a season. And he now has 123 catches to break the mark set by Cris Carter in both 1994 and 1995 of 122 receptions in a season.

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“It’s a blessing,’’ Jefferson said of topping Moss’ total. “It’s an honor to break his record, to be in the conversation. But he has the gold (hall of fame) jacket. That’s what I want at the end of my career, so I’m still chasing him for sure.”

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He played in every game, posting 264 carries for 1,173 yards, as well as 39 catches for 295 yards.

Jefferson wasn’t Minnesota’s only receiving star Saturday. Hockenson broke a Vikings record for most catches by a tight end in a game with 13 and had 109 yards and two touchdowns.

Jefferson and Hockenson had 25 of Cousins’ 34 completions. The quarterback threw 48 passes and had 299 yards with three touchdowns.

“Huge win again,’’ Cousins said. “Found the inches again. … I can’t say enough about our home atmosphere.”

NFL: New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson runs after a catch against the New York Giants in the fourth quarter Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium. Jefferson finished the game with 12 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports

The Vikings dubbed it a “Winter Whiteout Game.” The logo in the middle of the field was painted white and so were the end zones. Fans were encouraged to wear white, and most did.

In the first half, it looked as if the Vikings just might send the fans home with a rare routine win. Cousins hit Hockenson for a 12-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter and Joseph had a 40-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to put Minnesota up 10-0.

But the Giants fought back. With Jones on his way to throwing for 334 yards and Barkley on his way to running for 84, they took a 13-10 lead on the second of Graham Gano’s two field goals late in the third quarter.

NFL: New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley runs for a game-tying touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports

Minnesota went ahead 17-13 when Cousins hit Hockenson for his second touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. On the Giants’ next drive, Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson had an interception of a Jones pass deep in Vikings territory. It was Minnesota’s second takeaway of the game, the first being a fumble recovery by Brian Asamoah on the first play of the second quarter.

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But victory wasn’t secured for the Vikings until the waning seconds. That, of course, is how it always is for them.

“At this point, it’s normal,’’ Jefferson said of yet another frantic finish. “As much as I don’t like it, it’s normal at this point. All it is is us just making plays and doing what we need to do to get the victory.”

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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