Look around you.
On one side of the locker room, Justin Jefferson sat next to Adam Thielen. Thielen held out his phone. Jefferson watched his own climax, a backhand, outstretched, otherworldly grip on a fourth-and-good-luck situation. They had experienced the snag. Now they were marveling from different angles. Smiling, they both shook their heads in disbelief.
Across the locker room, a Vikings player checked his phone while laughing at a text from a friend who happens to be a quarterback on another team. The QB had watched the end of the Vikings’ 33-30 win over the Bills, a “Can you believe this just happened?!” finish filled with about 50 “Can you believe this just happened?!” moments that set it up. He read the message. The theme was clear: the opposing quarterback was impressed with Minnesota’s willingness.
Sitting on a small stool in the bowels of Highmark Stadium, as the boom box rattled the shaking wooden lockers behind him, Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips struggled to pronounce the word “situational.” He was trying to describe the unlikely failed shot of the Bills. Exhausted and emotionally drained, he was going through a tough time.
“Wow,” he said. “Wow. That’s all I can say anymore.
Look around you. There, quarterback Kirk Cousins backed up the defensive linemen. There, right tackle Brian O’Neill read and reread the black writing scrawled on the jersey given to him by Von Miller. Over there, Safety Cam Bynum, sitting on top of a cooler, shrugged.
“The craziest game I’ve played in my life,” he said.
Here’s what it looks like when you go up against a heavyweight and live to tell the tale. When the punches fly, you dance and zigzag, and in the end, you stand straight with your chest bulging, feeling validated.
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