For a guy dubbed "Joe Cool" by the Baltimore fans, it was just another day at the office. "You take the field and see what you can do," Flacco said. "It was probably unlikely that we win the game today, but we did."
2. The Ravens' defense was solid for most of the season before the fourth-quarter collapse, in which the unit allowed 20 points, including two touchdowns in the final 1:27. The game was played in snow, slippery conditions, so there was little margin for error. Baltimore allowed just three points and 37 yards rushing in the first half before the Vikings began to catch them out of position late in the game.
Another issue plaguing the Ravens this season is an inability to force the opponent to go three-and-out. That problem surfaced again Sunday, and it will need to be corrected if Baltimore wants to make any type of playoff run.
"We knew what the weather was going to be today, and we knew the Vikings were a good team," Ravens safety Matt Elam said. "This is the NFL, and it doesn't always go according to plan, but what a way to win. We were just competing and competing, trying to get a win."
What we learned about the Vikings
1. Minnesota appeared to take a huge hit when Adrian Peterson was helped off the field in the second quarter after linebacker Arthur Brown landed on the running back's leg while making a tackle near the Vikings' sideline. Peterson suffered a sprain on the play and later returned to the sideline in street clothes. He will get an MRI exam Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
In the game, Peterson struggled in the snowy, slippery conditions, producing just 13 yards on seven carries. With Peterson out, backup Toby Gerhart carried the load effectively, gaining 89 yards on 15 carries. He ran for a 41-yard touchdown that gave the Vikings a 19-15 lead with 1:27 left in the game. While it will be difficult to fill Peterson's shoes entirely, Gerhart showed he can provide a spark to the offense.
2. Minnesota's defense, ranked 30th in the NFL, played well for three quarters against the Ravens before the improbable ending. Even though the snowy, slippery conditions appeared to affect both teams, the Vikings were effective in stopping the run, allowing just 97 yards on the ground, well below their season average of 120.6 per game.
The Vikings tired near the end of the game, allowing Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to put together a game-winning, five-play, 80-yard drive, capped by the decisive 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marlon Brown. It was a bitter ending to a hard-fought game.
"For most of the game, I thought we were going to win," Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen said. "Even when we were down at halftime, I thought we would get it done. Hats off to them. They didn't give up and they made big plays when they needed them."