Brett Favre's late heroics in a game-winning drive that beat San Francisco with just seconds remaining checked in at No. 10 – a game that likely should have been ranked a bit higher. The 49ers were one of the NFC's hottest teams coming out of the gate and there's no telling what kind of momentum a road win with an emotional coach like Mike Singletary could have had on the 49ers. The 49ers came into that game 2-0 with wins over division rivals Arizona on the road and Seattle at home. Deflated from that loss, the 49ers would lose four of their next five games before rallying to go 5-3 in the second half. The Vikings may well have determined the balance of power in the NFC West with that win.
The Vikings' win at Lambeau Field checked in at No. 9 on the list and, once again, a case could be made that it should have been higher. Favre made his return to Lambeau Field in a visiting uniform and played a masterful game. That, too, proved to be a pivotal game since it all but buried the Packers in their quest to unseat the Vikings as division champions and put the Vikings in the driver's seat to get a first-round bye. Given the emotion of the moment for Favre and the loud, unfriendly reaction from Packers fans, the game had enormous importance and, considering that, without that win, the Vikings would have gone to Arizona in the wild card round and the Packers would have had a first-round bye and hosted their first game at frigid Lambeau Field, the implications of that game were huge.
The list went on to include the Patriots debacle against the Colts on Monday night in which they failed on a fourth-and-1 play from in Indy territory at No. 8, Tennessee's 18-play, 99-yard drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown from Vince Young to Kenny Britt as time expired for a Week 12 win against Arizona at No. 7, Jay Cutler stinking up the joint with five picks in a 10-6 loss to the 49ers at No. 6, the Colts calling off the dogs and blowing the chance for a perfect regular season against the Jets at No. 5, the Jets' improbable road playoff win at San Diego at No. 4 and the wild 51-45 wild card win by the Cardinals in overtime against the Packers at No. 3.
The Saints 31-28 overtime win against the Vikings checked it at No. 2, with the Vikings being given credit for dominating most of the stat lines in the game with the exception of turnovers and the final score. The No. 1 game was the Super Bowl, where the Saints ended their 43-year drought with their first championship win.
For a lot of Vikings fans, the way the 2009 season ended was a bitter pill to swallow, but the Vikings were an important part of the story that unfolded during the season and, like it or not, they were a big part of the history made this past year.
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.