The Indianapolis Colts have agreed to trade five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys.

Indianapolis will receive a fifth-round compensatory draft pick, according to multiple media reports.

The 32-year-old Gilmore will play for his fourth team in four years, joining a secondary that already features Trevon Diggs, whose 14 interceptions over the last two seasons are the most in the NFL.

Gilmore signed a two-year contract with the Colts last year, and unloading him clears an estimated $9million in salary cap room for Indianapolis.

The Cowboys add the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year to a unit that ranked fifth in points allowed per game last season at 20.1.

Reports of the trade came after Dallas announced that starting safety and 2022 leading tackler Donovan Wilson re-signed for three years and $24m.

Gilmore played his first five seasons with the Buffalo Bills before joining the New England Patriots in 2017. The former second-round pick enjoyed his best years with New England, being named to the All-Pro First Team in 2018 and 2019.

He started just three games for the Carolina Panthers in 2021 but had a bounce-back season last year with the Colts. In 2022, Gilmore started 16 games and tallied 66 total tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups.

Gilmore’s 29 career interceptions are tied for the fifth-most among active players.

The Indianapolis Colts appear ready to improve their fourth overall pick in this year's NFL Draft with general manager Chris Ballard leaving that idea wide open.

The Colts have endured four difficult years in the quarterback spot since Andrew Luck's departure in 2019, finishing the 2022 campaign with a 4-12-1 record.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young looms large as an early pick prospect, but the Colts would likely need to trade up from their No.4 pick to get access to him.

"I know all the speculation out there," Ballard told reporters at the NFL scouting combine. "To move up, there's got to be a guy worthy of it.

"Everybody has just automatically stamped that you've got to move up to one to get it right. I don't know if I agree with that. But that's going to be the narrative, and that's OK.

"If, when we meet as a staff and we say, 'OK, this is what we need to do. This is the guy for the next 10 to 15 years and we think he's the right guy,' we'll do it. But who's to say we won't get one at four?"

Ballard was clear when asked what it would take for the Colts to take an aggressive approach to acquire a QB like Young, replying: "That we were just convicted that this is no freaking doubt the guy."

During the post-Luck era, the Colts have never been better positioned to acquire a QB to solve their dilemma with the role.

Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and veteran Matt Ryan have been their most used starting QBs over the past four seasons respectively.

"It took a lot of freaking pain to get there," Ballard said in reference to earning the No.4 pick. "But when you're there, you need to take advantage of it."

The Colts will be led by new head coach Shane Steichen in the 2023 season, coming in from the Philadelphia Eagles where he was offensive coordinator to replace interim boss Jeff Saturday.

The Indianapolis Colts have named Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen as their new head coach.

Steichen was part of the staff that led the Eagles all the way to NFC Championship success and Super Bowl LVII, where they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Philadelphia's offense finished the regular season third in scoring (an average of 28.1 points per game), while Indianapolis were tied for 30th out of the 32 teams, with only the Denver Broncos (16.9) averaging lower than their 17.0 points per game.

The Colts had a season to forget overall, finishing on 4-12-1, losing their last seven games and 10 of their last 11.

Steichen replaces Frank Reich, who was fired midway through the 2022 season and has since taken the head coach role at the Carolina Panthers.

Coincidentally, Reich had also been Eagles OC before getting the top job with the Colts in 2018.

Jeff Saturday took interim charge after Reich's dismissal and had been in contention for the job permanently before Steichen's appointment was confirmed.

General manager Chris Ballard has previously said he will do "whatever it takes" to bring in a franchise quarterback, which will be music to Steichen's ears as he has previously helped develop top QBs such as Philip Rivers and Justin Herbert in his time with the Los Angeles Chargers, and Jalen Hurts at the Eagles.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay released an open letter on Friday highlighting his disappointment in their tumultuous season.

The Colts finished with the fourth-worst record in the NFL at 4-12-1 despite entering the year with "the highest hopes for a division title and a deep playoff run", according to Irsay.

It was the fourth season in a row the Colts came into Week 1 with a new starting quarterback, and when faced with a shaky 3-5-1 start and uncertainty at the position, Irsay made the decision to fire head coach Frank Reich.

That was the first time since taking control of the team in 1997 that Irsay had fired his head coach mid-season, and his next move raised even more eyebrows as he decided to bring in long-time friend and legendary former Colts offensive lineman Jeff Saturday as Reich's replacement.

Saturday had never been a head coach at any level prior to his appointment, and after winning his first contest in charge, Indianapolis closed the season on a seven-game losing streak.

In his letter, Irsay said: "I share your frustration. I can't stand losing, and I hate letting down our fans, and we had too much of both last year.

"But please know this – no one is more unsatisfied than I am. No one has higher expectations than I do. And no one wants to win for our fans and our community more than the people in our organization wearing the Horseshoe every day.

"So as I've always said, the responsibility for making us better ultimately falls on me, and our offseason work has already begun. That includes our search for our next head coach, preparing for an important draft in April and continuing to bolster the talented core of players already on our roster.

"No one can ever guarantee wins or losses. But as long as I'm owner, I can guarantee that winning championships will always be my goal, and I'll be doing everything I can to help get us there. That's what you deserve, and that's what we'll be working hard to deliver."

The Colts own the fourth pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and pundits have speculated about whether they will take the gamble of trading up to number one or two to ensure they land one of college football's top quarterbacks.

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard knows his team is in desperate need of a stable quarterback and admitted to reporters Tuesday that he "failed" in recent seasons.

Ballard added that the Colts are willing to be aggressive in trying to acquire a franchise quarterback this offseason, even if that means trading up from the fourth overall pick in April’s draft.

"I'll do whatever it takes," he said. "If we thought there's a player that we're driven to get that makes the franchise and the team better, that's what we would do.

"We understand the importance of the position. To get one that you can win with and to be right is the most important thing -- not if we take one or not. It's being right."

The franchise once fortunate enough to replace Peyton Manning with Andrew Luck under center has been searching for answers ever since Luck retired following the 2018 season.

Over the past four seasons, Ballard has brought in four different opening-day starters at quarterback – Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan – all with disappointing results.

"Looking back on it, when you're changing quarterbacks every year, it's tough," Ballard said. "It's tough on everybody. It's tough on the team. Not getting that position settled has a little something to do with [the team's record].

"I failed. I'm not going to sit up here and make excuses. I failed a lot of people."

The Colts find themselves behind only the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals in April's draft order, with only the Texans having a glaring need at quarterback.

If division rivals Houston and Indianapolis were to get into a bidding war for the top pick, however, the Texans would appear to have the advantage, holding three extra picks in the 2023 draft as a result of trading away embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns.

Interim Indianapolis Colts head coach Jeff Saturday declared he is gunning for the permanent role after getting a taste of coaching at the highest level.

Saturday made headlines when he was hired to take over following the firing of Frank Reich, having never been a head coach at any level previously.

After a stirring win during his first week in charge, the Colts went on to lose the next seven in a row to close the season, including a Week 18 failure against the Houston Texans, who came into the contest with the worst record in the league.

When speaking to reporters on Monday, he pushed back on the notion that the Colts' 1-7 record under his watch was an accurate representation of his ability to lead a successful team.

"When you say 'eight-game audition', it was an eight-game audition with half an offensive staff [and] boundaries," he said. 

"It's an eight-game audition with the hand you're dealt, right? How do you deal with that? Hopefully, I've shown my leadership.

"I wish we were better than 1-7. Everybody in that locker room and everybody here, it makes all our jobs a lot easier if you win, right? Unfortunately, that hasn't happened. I'm not dissuaded by that."

He said if he were to land the role for next season, he would take the franchise in "a different direction and a different vision that I'm carrying through – one that's my own that I can implement and move forward with".

When asked how far away he believes the Colts are from being a good football team, he said "Not nearly as far as y'all think".

"I've seen some articles here recently, so I can assure you [there have been] a lot of shots fired," he said. "I don't think we're nearly as far as you guys believe we are."

ESPN is reporting Colts owner Jim Irsay called Saturday "an outstanding candidate", while defensive leader Shaquille Leonard said he felt Saturday did "a phenomenal job" and earned the respect of the locker room.

The Colts have reportedly requested to interview Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn as well as their offensive coordinator Ben Johnson for the head coaching role, along with Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

Daniel Jones was left to bask in a "special moment" as he received a standing ovation at MetLife Stadium after helping the New York Giants clinch a playoff berth.

The Giants qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2016 with a dominant 38-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Jones has been much maligned since the Giants selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft.

But he completed 79.2 per cent of his passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a further 91 yards and a touchdown as the Giants secured the sixth seed in the NFC.

Jones, in the final year of his Giants contract after they declined his fifth-year option, was removed from the game with seven minutes and 30 seconds remaining, receiving a tremendous reception from the crowd and from his team-mates on the sideline.

"That was a special moment," Jones said. "A lot of guys who've put in a lot of work. We've been through, certainly, some tougher times and it feels good to be on this side of it, for sure.

"Special moment with those guys. Really proud of this team, proud of what we did today. Grateful to be a part of it."

The Giants cannot improve their seeding and have nothing to play for in their Week 18 clash with the Philadelphia Eagles.

By contrast, the Eagles need to win to clinch the NFC East and the number one seed in the conference. Defeat for the Eagles would give the Dallas Cowboys the chance to snatch the division and both the Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers the opportunity to clinch the one seed.

Giants head coach Brian Daboll indicated he would not rest his starters and give the Eagles some help in an unexpectedly nervy end to the season for Philadelphia, who suffered a second successive loss at home to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

"You get rest after the season. It's a long season," Daboll said. 

"This is the fun part of the season. It's the fun part of the season when you're winning. It's the bad part of the season when you're losing."

A host of teams can start 2023 on a high note by clinching an NFL playoff place in an eagerly awaited Week 17.

There are also divisional titles to be won on New Year's Day, with Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers within touching distance of winning the NFC South ahead of a clash against the Carolina Panthers.

The Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets lock horns scenting a spot in the postseason, while the Miami Dolphins could seal a playoff berth when they do battle with the New England Patriots.

Here Stats Perform used its data to preview the biggest games with plenty at stake at the beginning of a new year.

SUNDAY (all times EST)

Panthers (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8) 1pm

The Buccaneers can clinch the NFC South title for a second straight season if they beat the Panthers, a feat they have never previously achieved.

After a 21-3 win in Week 7, the Panthers are going for the season sweep of the Buccaneers for the first time since 2017. That was also the last season they made the playoffs.

Tampa Bay beat the Arizona Cardinals 19-16 in their final game of 2022. The Buccaneers have scored 21 or fewer points in all seven of their wins this season. 

Carolina overcame the Detroit Lions 37-23 in Week 16 behind 320 yards rushing and 250 yards passing. They were the first NFL team with 300 rush yards and 250 pass yards in a game since the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12, 2012.

Jets (7-8) at Seahawks (7-8) 4.05pm

The Seahawks have dominated the Jets in recent years, winning all four games against them since 2005 and conceding only 30 points in the process. That is just 7.5 points per game, which is the fewest allowed by any NFL team against a single opponent over that time.

Pete Carroll is in his 17th season as an NFL head coach and has never missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons. The Seattle boss is the only head coach in NFL history to coach at least 15 seasons in the league and never have consecutive seasons in which he did not lead his team to the playoffs.

DK Metcalf has had at least five receptions in eight straight games, tied with John L. Williams (1989-90) and Brian Blades (1995) for the longest streak in Seahawks franchise history.

The Jets are allowing 10.8 fewer points per game than they did last season (29.6 to 18.8), on pace to be the second-largest season-to-season improvement in the NFL in the past 40 years behind the 2000-01 Rams (29.4 to 17.1, -12.3). 

Dolphins (8-7) @ Patriots (7-8) - 1pm

New England are due a win over the Dolphins, who have beaten them in four consecutive games - the last of which was a 20-7 success in Week 1.

Miami are the only team to beat the Patriots four times in a row since Bill Belichick took over as head coach of the Patriots in 2000. With a loss this week, Miami would join Tennessee as the only teams this season with a winning streak of at least five games and a losing streak of at least five games.

Tua Tagovailoa posted a career-high 12.4 yards per pass attempt in last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers. It was the highest yards-per-attempt in a loss by a starting Dolphins quarterback in team history. He misses out this week due to concussion, though, so Teddy Bridgewater steps in.

New England’s comeback bid fell short in a 22-18 loss to the Bengals last week. The Patriots have lost nine straight games when trailing after three quarters, with only the Panthers (41 straight losses) and Seahawks (13 straight) having longer active streaks.


Bills (12-3) @ Bengals (11-4) - 8.30pm

The Bills know they will get a first-round bye in the playoffs if they see off the Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs lose to the Denver Broncos. Following Cincinnati's win over the Bills in the 1988 AFC Championship Game, the Bills won 10 straight in this series. Since then, Cincinnati are 4-2 against Buffalo, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 21-17 Buffalo win in Week 3, 2019.

The Bills beat the Bears 35-13 in Chicago last week, extending their winning run to six games. Buffalo have scored at least 20 points in each of those wins – they have just two longer streaks of wins with 20+ points – a nine-game streak in 1964 and a seven-game streak in 1990.

The Bengals' road win over the Patriots extended their winning streak to seven games, one shy of tying the franchise record of eight – achieved in the first eight games of the 2015 season (also an eight-game streak spanning the 1970 and 1971 seasons).

Joe Burrow had 375 passing yards last week, his second-highest total of the season. It was his seventh career game with at least 350 passing yards, fourth most in the NFL since 2020 behind Tom Brady (13), Patrick Mahomes (12) and Josh Allen (9). 


The Denver Broncos start life after Nathaniel Hackett with a tough trip to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in their first game since the head coach's firing. The Chiefs have won 14 straight games against the Broncos dating back to the 2015 season. Just five teams in NFL history have beaten another team 15 times in a row, with the last team to do so being the Patriots against the Bills from 2003 to 2010.  

The Philadelphia Eagles host the New Orleans Saints knowing they can clinch the NFC East and the number one seed in their conference with a win.

The Eagles are 11-3 (.786) all-time at home against the Saints, which includes an active three-game winning streak. That is the Eagles' third-best home record against any opponent all-time (3-0 versus the Texans and 6-1 versus the Broncos). 

A playoff place is in the New York Giants' sights as they prepare to take on the Indianapolis Colts. 

The Colts have won four straight games against the Giants, with the most recent win coming in Week 16 of 2018 with a 28-27 home victory.

There appears to be no stopping the San Francisco 49ers, who can win a ninth game in a row when they take on the Las Vegas Raiders. The 49ers are the only NFL team in the Super Bowl era to win eight straight games in a single season while holding their opponents to fewer than 80 rushing yards in each victory.

The Los Angeles Chargers' defense dominated Indianapolis Colts quarterback Nick Foles in his first start of the season to collect a 20-3 victory and book the first playoff berth of the Justin Herbert era.

Herbert, the sixth overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft, has already been anointed as part of the next great wave of quarterbacks, but is yet to taste postseason action after going 7-9 as a rookie and 9-8 last year.

With a playoff spot on the line with a win on Monday, the Chargers' defense played inspired football, sacking former Super Bowl champion Foles seven times while also intercepting three passes.

The Colts' only points came from a field goal in the second quarter, but they remained in the game at half-time as Austin Ekeler scored the Chargers' only first-half touchdown to lead 10-3.

After Cameron Dicker's second field goal made things a two-score game in the third period, Ekeler rumbled in for his second one-yard touchdown of the contest early in the fourth quarter to blow out the lead.

With his two touchdowns, Ekeler now owns the outright league-lead with 16 combined trips to the endzone – 11 rushing and five receiving. He handled 16 carries for 67 yards with his two scores, while adding four catches for 12 yards.

It was not Herbert's best game, completing 24 of his 31 passes for 235 yards and an interception, but he had a strong connection with receiver Keenan Allen, who had 11 catches for 104 yards.

Defensively, superstar pass-rusher Khalil Mack was one of six Chargers to register at least one sack, while Michael Davis, Asante Samuel Jr and Derwin James Jr collected the interceptions.

Nick Foles will start for the Indianapolis Colts against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday as Matt Ryan is benched for a second time this season.

Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Ryan led the Colts through the first seven games, but was demoted after the 19-10 defeat to the Tennessee Titans in October with the team 3-3-1.

Sam Ehlinger started in his place but lost both games before Ryan was given the nod for the 25-20 road victory over the Oakland Raiders in Week 10, the first game under new head coach Jeff Saturday after Frank Reich was fired.

Indianapolis have gone 0-4 since that win though, including a stunning 39-36 defeat to the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday having led 33-0 at half-time.

The second-half collapse was the biggest in NFL history, with the Vikings scoring 29 unanswered points from 36-7 down to send the game to overtime, before Greg Joseph kicked a field goal to condemn the Colts to a dramatic loss.

That is likely to be Ryan's final game of the season and potentially his time in Indianapolis is over,

Foles won Super Bowl LII with the Philadelphia Eagles, toppling Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a Super Bowl MVP-winning performance.

He has played for the Colts' AFC South rival Jacksonville Jaguars since then as well as the Chicago Bears, and gets another chance to start at the age of 33.

With Indianapolis 4-9-1 and likely to be officially ruled out of playoff contention this weekend, Saturday believes the change at quarterback is necessary.

"It's never an easy decision," Saturday told reporters. "[I] think the world of Matt, he’s a pro’s pro.

"It's not been the season he expected, nor the Colts as a whole.

"[I] just didn't feel we made enough plays offensively. This is not all on Matt.

"Ultimately I feel like Nick will give us a better chance to go win these last three games."

As in the NFL, not every team maintains an active interest in fantasy football at this stage in the year.

But for those who still have title hopes, there is no room for error.

Finding an edge can be tricky as franchises outside the playoff picture wind down for the year and the league's leading lights think about resting up for the postseason.

But Stats Perform has picked out four players and a defense that could make the difference in Week 16.

Quarterback: Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers vs. Washington Commanders

Nobody – at least nobody still in contention now – had any real interest in Purdy at the start of the year as he was the 49ers' third-choice QB, but that means he remains available in a number of leagues. It may well be time to fix that, with Purdy one of the outstanding performers across Weeks 14 and 15.

Josh Allen alone threw more touchdown passes (five to Purdy's four) without throwing an interception, while the rookie's 8.55 yards per pass attempt ranked third. Purdy was the sole QB in the NFL with a passer rating of at least 115.0 in two starts over this period. In fact, Aaron Rodgers is the only other player in league history to have had such a passer rating in his first two career starts.

Purdy is an obvious option for any fantasy player suffering QB woe, with the 49ers having clinched the NFC West but unlikely to slow too much as they hunt down the Minnesota Vikings and the second seed in the NFC.

Running Back: Zack Moss, Indianapolis Colts vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Gardner Minshew would be another popular pick at QB, with Jalen Hurts injured, but the Philadelphia Eagles still have not ruled out their MVP candidate. On the other hand, the Colts have shut down Jonathan Taylor for the year.

However, Indy would be wise to press on with the run game against the Chargers; only the Packers (42.9 per cent) have allowed opponents greater success on run plays this year than the Chargers (42.5 per cent).

That should mean plenty of touches again for Moss, who had 24 carries last week – as many as he had across the rest of the year combined.

Wide Receiver: Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers @ Miami Dolphins

The Packers' season never really got going, with Aaron Rodgers unable to make his receiving corps work without the departed Davante Adams.

But Watson, who had just 14 targets through nine weeks, has really come to the fore of late. Since Week 10, Watson has seven receiving TDs – leading the league ahead of Adams (five) – and has converted 17 of his 19 receptions into first downs.

Over the past two weeks, only two defenses have given up more receiving yards (671) and more receiving TDs (five) than Miami. They have also tied the Detroit Lions in allowing a league-worst 32 receiving first downs in this time.

Tight End: Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets

Engram has been a steady performer in his first year with the Jaguars, but there is reason to believe he may be able to move to another level now as Trevor Lawrence ignites this Jacksonville offense.

Over the past two weeks, the Jags rank second in net passing yards (679) and lead the way for TD passes (seven) and points (76).

Engram caught two of those TDs and has led the team in targets (25), catches (19) and receiving yards (224) over this period. He and those who can call on him for fantasy purposes are among the chief beneficiaries of Lawrence's late surge.

Defense/Special Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Arizona Cardinals

Opposition teams have been successful on only 36.5 per cent of plays against the Buccaneers this year, making this the league's sixth-best defense.

And now they will be faced with a Cardinals offense manned by third-string QB Trace McSorley, who is in line for his first career start despite struggling badly from his limited snaps so far this year.

McSorley has not thrown a single TD pass in 2022 but has tossed three picks, completing only 15 of his 29 pass attempts for an atrocious passer rating of 29.5.

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has been placed on injured reserve, ending his season due to a right ankle injury.

Taylor suffered the injury on the Colts’ first possession of the game on a 13-yard reception in Saturday's 39-36 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Last season's NFL leading rusher's campaign is over as players must a minimum of four games on injured reserve, with the 4-9-1 Colts out of playoffs contention.

Taylor has battled ankle soreness all this year and has missed three games this season due to ankle issues.

Taylor entered Week 15 ranked 11th in the league with 861 rushing yards in 10 games. His 86.1 rushing yards per game this season ranks fourth in the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts were very aware they were becoming "a punch line" in the NFL ahead of Saturday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, in which they sought to respond.

Remarkably, the AFC South strugglers only made matters worse as they threw away a 33-0 lead in a record-breaking defeat.

The Colts initially had an answer to their critics, building a big lead against the high-flying Vikings on the back of a brilliant first-half defensive performance.

But the latest miserable episode in this Indianapolis season – described as "heartbreaking" by interim coach Jeff Saturday – swiftly followed.

The Vikings rallied for the biggest comeback win in NFL history, first taking the game to overtime via a 22-point fourth quarter before Greg Joseph's field goal clinched victory and the NFC North title.

The Colts had given up 33 points in the fourth quarter of the previous week's defeat to the Dallas Cowboys, a desperate franchise record.

Indy's woes are on both sides of the ball, though, as Frank Reich's firing earlier this year came after a Week 9 loss to the New England Patriots in which 121 yards of total offense represented their worst performance since 1997.

"You give it literally everything you have, you've been through a whole lot of adversity," said Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin.

"We've been hearing everybody talk about us like we're a punch line and we took that very personally. I think you could tell by how we came out and played.

"For the game to go the way it did at the end, it's definitely a tough, tough pill to swallow."

Kirk Cousins has told the Minnesota Vikings they need to play better when playoff football begins after his side's record comeback victory against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Vikings trailed 33-0 at the break but rallied in the second half, registering 29 unanswered points to send the game to overtime with the score tied at 36-a-piece.

A 40-yard field goal in the final moments secured the win and the biggest comeback win in NFL history, beating the previous record set by the Buffalo Bills against the Houston Oilers in January 1993.

The win also secured the Vikings the NFC North title for the first time since 2017 and books a return to the playoffs following a two-year absence, but Cousins made it clear there is work to be done.

"The goal every year when the season starts is to win your division, get a playoff game, then sort it out from there," he said on the field to the NFL Network.

"That's the first goal, we were able to secure that, but we've got to play a lot better. You've got to play better football to win in the playoffs.

"Obviously, there's still a lot to play for with our seeding."

Despite the first-half blowout, and a deficit that looked unassailable, Cousins says there was still belief in the locker room.

"It was an ugly first half but we found a way back with complimentary football, a lot of plays, a lot we'd like to have back as well, but we'll take it," he added.

"There was belief at half-time. Patrick Peterson said all we needed was five touchdowns; I thought he was being sarcastic. Obviously, there is some yelling, there is some frustration.

"That [comeback] doesn't just happen. Basic people don't do what we just did."

The Vikings host the New York Giants on Christmas Eve for their final home game of the regular season, followed by back-to-back road trips against the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

The Minnesota Vikings set the record for the biggest comeback in NFL history, recovering from a 33-0 half-time deficit against the Indianapolis Colts to clinch a 39-36 victory and the NFC North title.

A strong defensive performance in the first half looked to have put to put the Colts in cruise control, with a pick-6, a blocked punt for a touchdown and limiting the hosts to just a single first down at U.S. Bank Stadium.

But the second half saw a new Minneapolis Miracle written into legend, as Minnesota fought back from 36-7 to hit 29 unanswered points and send the game to overtime.

There, a 40-yard field goal from Greg Joseph delivered the NFC North crown to the Vikings for the first time since 2017, and shattered the record books in the process.

The 33-point comeback set the mark as the biggest-ever in NFL history, surpassing the 32-point deficit the Buffalo Bills overturned against the Houston Oilers in January 1993.

It was a bitter reverse for the Colts, who having seized the lead through a field goal, returned a blocked punt for a touchdown through JoJo Domann before Deon Jackson finished a seven-play drive to extend their advantage.

The Vikings' woes continued in the second quarter, seeing Julian Blackmon intercept Kirk Cousins for a pick-six and with a further three field goals conceded to leave them 33 points down on the scoreboard at half-time.

A two-yard K.J. Osborn touchdown in the third quarter got the Vikings off the mark before another Colts field goal took the game to 36-7 - but it was then that the hosts came alive in sensational fashion.

Bagging 21 unanswered points to bring the game towards a dramatic finish, Dalvin Cook then delivered a 64-yard touchdown followed by a two-point conversion to square matters up.

That took the game to overtime where, with the clock ticking down, Joseph sealed the deal - and with it, the Vikings' first playoff appearance since 2019.

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