Coming into Sunday's game with the Buffalo Bills, the most points the Vikings had scored in a game this season was 27. In the span of less than nine minutes, the Vikings put up 28 points, getting contributions from offense, defense and special teams to get the job done and create the turning point of the game.
The Bills led 7-0 following an interception return for a touchdown by Drayton Florence, but it didn't take the Vikings long to even up the score. With the ball on the Buffalo 31-yard line, Tarvaris Jackson, who replaced an injured Brett Favre on the first series of the game, threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice that was initially ruled out of bounds, but Rice was quick to his feet imploring the Vikings to challenge the call.
"I knew I was in," Rice said. "I thought they called it a touchdown right away, but, when I saw they didn't, I was telling the coaches to challenge it. We did and they got it right."
The score came with 1:45 to play in the first quarter, but was merely opening the floodgates for what was to come. It was time for the special teams to get into the act. Return man Leodis McKelvin took the ensuing kickoff and ran into the back of his own blocker and fumbled. An alert Frank Walker recovered on the Bills 14-yard line. Five plays later, Peterson would go in from a yard out to give the Vikings a 14-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
A strong defensive stand led to a three-and-out, giving the Vikings the ball on their own 40. Thanks to a 13-yard scramble by Jackson and a personal foul for unnecessary roughness on safety Donte Whitner, the Vikings got down to the 15-yard line, where A.D. would plow in from three yards out two plays later to give the Vikings a 21-7 lead with 11:00 to play in the second quarter.
With the offense clicking and the special teams creating a big play, it was time for the defense to do its job to help the cause. Just three plays after the second Peterson touchdown, Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to squeeze a pass into go-to target Steve Johnson. Instead, Antoine Winfield jumped the route and intercepted the pass, returning it 41 yards to the Buffalo 5-yard line.
"For a second, I thought I might score," said Winfield, whose 41-yard return was the second-longest return of an interception in his career. "We were having a lot of fun out there. It's been a long time since we've put up that many points in that short a span of time. We were shorthanded today and everybody had to step up. We were clicking in all three phases and were able to take control."
It took the Vikings just two plays to cash in, as Jackson hit Rice for a 6-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 28-7 lead with 8:00 to play in the half.
For a team that averaged 29 points a game last year, having not reached that plateau once this season was a hard pill to swallow. But the Vikings vanquished those demons with 28 points in the span of 8:45, turning a seven-point deficit into a laugher.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Turning point: Nine-minute points barrage
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