MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There was Drew Pearson’s push-off, and Darrin Nelson’s drop.
There was Gary Anderson, and 41-Donut.
There was Brett Favre’s Bountygate-battered interception in 2009, and Blair Walsh Wide Left in 2015.
And then, finally, there was Seven Heaven.
Things just simply don’t go this way for the Vikings. Not in the playoffs. It’s been only heartbreak.
But could it be that the Minneapolis Miracle, as it’s been named, changed all that?
“It’s a turning point,” said Stefon Diggs, minutes after catching the game-winning touchdown as time expired. “For everybody — the majority of people doubted us. They don’t think it’s going to happen. Especially because of history. And people have a way of saying history repeats itself. I guess this is not one of those cases.”
Fullback C.J. Ham, who grew up in Duluth, lived that history.
“Growing up in Minnesota, being a Minnesota fan, I’ve heard and seen all the ups and downs,” Ham said. “So to have that go our way, it was pretty amazing. I’m still pretty speechless about it.”
Even the gruff head coach, Mike Zimmer, understood the enormity of the moment to the fan base that cheers for him.
“I got an awful lot of texts,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know how many, but an awful lot. People that were really happy. Minnesotans that were really happy about how this thing went down… It was pretty cool. I’m glad that we can give them something good to cheer about.”
Now as the Vikings turn the page to Philadelphia, there’s an overwhelming sense that this can’t be how it ends. That they need to see it through, to make sure it’s not just a footnote on another ultimate disappointment.
“We don’t want to waste any opportunity,” quarterback Case Keenum said. “Any opportunity that’s given to us. Especially this one.”
“After something like that, man, only thing you can do is believe it’s destined for us to just go far,” said cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
“It has nothing really to do with what happened yesterday, it’s just the opportunity of getting to the NFC Championship Game. You don’t get that opportunity every year,” receiver Adam Thielen said. “You just never know if you’ll ever have that opportunity again, so you really want to make the most of it.”
It was one of those you’ll always remember where you were moments. The night the Vikings vanquished the ghosts of playoffs past.