An Hour In the Life

In the span of slightly more than one hour, the Vikings saw their playoff chances dim somewhat as the Redskins and Cowboys held on for victories for two of the four teams the Vikings needed to lose over the Christmas weekend.

It was the span of 64 minutes that took the Vikings on a roller coaster ride of emotions Saturday – turning what looked like a potential season-saving set of events into a "one of out three ain't bad" scenario.

The madness of the Saturday early games that had playoff implications for the Vikings began as the clock neared quarter to three Central Time. Here's how it played out for anxious Vikings players, coaches and fans.

2:42 p.m. -- Tampa Bay's Matt Bryant hits a 50-yard field goal to tie the Bucs game with the Falcons at 17-17 with 9:01 to play. The Falcons are one of the three teams the Vikings want to lose.

2:45 p.m. -- Clinton Portis breaks off a 19-yard touchdown run with 12:43 to play – extending their lead over the Giants to 35-20 and all but cementing a win.

2:50 p.m. -- Jake Delhomme throws a touchdown pass to Ricky Proehl with 2:32 remaining in Carolina's game with the Cowboys to give the Panthers a 20-17 lead.

2:56 p.m. -- T.J. Duckett scores on a 2-yard touchdown run with 4:18 to play to give Atlanta back the lead over Tampa 24-17.

3:02 p.m. -- Dallas kicker Billy Cundiff misses a 33-yard field goal wide right to keep Dallas behind the Panthers 20-17. But on the play, Carolina's Julius Peppers is called for running into the kicker – giving the Cowboys a first down.

3:05 p.m. -- Eli Manning throws a 36-yard touchdown to Amani Toomer to apparently cut the Redskins lead to 35-27, but the touchdown is nullified on a holding penalty on offensive lineman Chris Snee. The Giants won't score again.

3:06 p.m. -- Drew Bledsoe throws a touchdown pass to Terry Glenn with 24 seconds to play to give Dallas a 24-20 lead.

3:07 p.m. -- Carnell Williams runs in from 6 yards out with 25 seconds to play to tie the Falcons-Buccaneers game at 24-24.

3:13 p.m. -- The Cowboys-Panthers game goes final.

3:17 p.m. -- The Giants-Redskins game goes final.

3:21 p.m. -- With a chance to win the game, the Falcons send kicker Todd Peterson out for a 28-yard field goal to win the game. The kick is blocked and the score remains tied.

3:26 p.m. -- With 10:04 left in overtime, the Bucs have the ball deep in Atlanta territory and go for the game-winning field goal. Bryant hooks the kick wide left and the score remains tied.

3:46 p.m. -- With time running out in overtime, Bryant hits a 41-yard field goal to win the game for the Bucs and drop the Falcons out of playoff contention.

It only took a little more than an hour, but what an hour it was – as improbable wins by the Cowboys and Buccaneers and a victory by the hard-charging Redskins leave the Vikings cheering for the Packers Sunday and still needing to get their own business done Sunday night.

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