At times, it isn't the huge play that creates a turning point in a game, it's the little things that build momentum. With the Vikings trailing 17-0 at halftime and hearing boos from the home fans, the team didn't panic. An impassioned halftime speech by coach Mike Tice got the players fired up to come out in the second half and, although it didn't happen all at once, it was the little things that would make the difference.
"All we had to do was come out and get points," quarterback Daunte Culpepper told VU. "We got a field goal (on the first drive of the second half), but it was points. That's all it takes for a good offense is that you had to get a spark here and there and – boom – the next thing you know, you're making plays all over the field."
The field goal of which Culpepper spoke culminated an 11-play drive to open the second half and, despite getting as deep as the Green Bay 9-yard line, it was a start.
"We settled down on offense, the defense kept firing at them and the special teams gave us a big return," Culpepper said. "We put it all together. It kept wheel-barrowing and got bigger and bigger. We got our momentum and went with it."
It took all three phases of the game to bring home the win. A defensive stand forced the Packers offense off the field and the Vikings came back with a touchdown drive to cut the lead to 17-10.
The momentum continued to build throughout the second half, as the defense clamped down on Donald Driver and took him away from the passing game and the offense continued to dominate the half. In the end, however, it was a pair of big plays by the special teams – a kick return to the 36-yard line and a 56-yard field goal by Paul Edinger to put the game away.
"This was a team victory in every respect," cornerback Antoine Winfield told VU. "We needed everybody to work together to get it done. When we needed plays on offense, we got them. The same on defense and special teams. It was a bunch of little things that added up to be something special."
Those little things may well have saved the Vikings' 2005 season, but they most assuredly made the Turning Point of the Game.
Turning Point: Little Plays Add Up
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