But on the second snap of overtime, bad T-Jack surfaced. He lost a fumble after being sacked. The Broncos immediately sent K Jason Elam in to kick the game-winning 30-yard field goal as the Vikings fell to 8-8. Jackson dropped to 8-4 as a starter, but the future seemed potentially bright for the second-year pro.
He kept the starting job to open the 2008 season, but was benched after a 0-2 start. Jackson never regained the job on a full-time basis, leading to Brett Favre playing for the Vikings in 2009 and 2010. Jackson left via free agency without any interest whatsoever from the Vikings before this season. Quite a tumble for the guy who was then-rookie head coach Brad Childress' hand-picked QB of the future in 2006.
"I understand," Peterson said. "Everybody is looked at in the same way, no matter a starter or not. If you're late for something, that's the consequence."
Williamson had the speed, but as Childress once noted, "the No. 1 job of a receiver is to receive." Williamson's hand-eye coordination was so poor he went to a Nike vision specialist that had ties to the Vikings. A big deal was made about all the tests, drills and so forth Nike performed to help Williamson before the 2007 season.
Nike's vision department took a black eye with Williamson's performance in 2007, particularly that Broncos game. With the Vikings needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Williamson was wide open by 20 yards when he dropped what would have been a 72-yard touchdown.
Photos of the drop showed Williamson still looking up while the ball had already passed through his hands. Williamson also dropped what would have been a first down.
"I think I should have focused on it a little more," Williamson said of the 72-yard drop. "I was too much worried about that I was too wide open. I was so wide open, it seemed to take forever, and it kind of moved on me at the last minute."
It might have been the only time – at least publicly – that a Vikings receiver complained about being too wide open.
It was supposed to be the test the Vikings needed to pass in order to prove that their 5-0 record was for real. The Vikings' first five opponents were a combined 8-20, but the Broncos came in with a 5-1 record.
The Vikings won 28-20 and were walking on air at 6-0.
"We have to be better before we can beat some of these teams we're playing in the coming weeks," then-coach Mike Tice said. "But this feels pretty good."
It was one of the last feel-good moments of that season. The Vikings lost their next four games, finished 3-7 down the stretch and joined the 1978 Redskins as the only teams to start 6-0 and miss the playoffs.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – Number of different left cornerbacks that have had to play this season. Antoine Winfield (injured reserve), Chris Cook (felony domestic assault charges), Asher Allen (shoulder injury) and now Benny Sapp, who was out of football two weeks ago.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's 5-1 this year. You can't argue that. ... But we don't like those Gators too much." – QB Christian Ponder, former Florida State quarterback talking about Sunday's matchup with Denver's Tim Tebow, the former University of Florida quarterback.