With just over 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings were white-knuckling a 21-19 lead against a Chicago Bears team threatening to score. Setting up in the shotgun on second down at the Bears 48-yard line, Chicago quarterback Justin Fields looked mighty comfortable after the snap, dashing left into what suddenly looked like wide-open terrain. And then this:
Deliverance and sweet salvation to the Vikings faithful, thanks to a block in the back.
To a Vikings fan, this scenario feels spiritually familiar, no matter what era, coach or quarterback Minnesota finds on its roster. Consider this: Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins started the day at a record-setting pace, with 17 consecutive completions, leading the team to 21-3 lead in the second quarter. Cousins was connecting with Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook; even Jalen Reagor got in the mix, getting his first touchdown with the team.
All of these should be good signs, and yet the Fields spree felt like an omen because it was all too familiar to another infamous scramble in a tight game against a highly mobile quarterback from Vikings history. It's 2002, the Vikings and Falcons are in overtime, and on second down from the Vikings' 46-yard line, Michael Vick ripped off a touchdown run that didn't stop until he reached the locker room.
That nightmare is now 20 years old. That haunting of hopes invested and never fulfilled, talent squandered under the stewardship of a car salesman, a reminder somehow still so fresh that it could be bandaged because it has never quite scabbed over, always threatening to infect any potential good feelings associated with sports for you and your offspring, because somewhere, deep within your wretched purple-jerseyed frame, you know nothing good can come from this cursed franchise that has lodged itself in your soul.
Anyhoo. Kirk Cousins scored just before the two-minute warning on a QB sneak, topped off with a pass to Justin Jefferson for a two-point conversion. Fields' sattempt at a game-winning drive for Chicago was thwarted when corner Cameron Dantzler stripped a pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette in the final minute, sealing the Vikings victory.
So, that's nice.