Indianapolis, IN – Adam Vinatieri booted a game-winning, 53- yard field goal with eight seconds left as the Indianapolis Colts edged the Minnesota Vikings, 23-20, on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
After allowing the game-tying touchdown with under a minute to play, the Colts got the ball back at their own 20 with 31 seconds remaining.
On the first play of the drive, Andrew Luck connected with Donnie Avery for 20 yards up to the 40-yard line. Luck then hit Reggie Wayne for 20 more yards to bring the ball to the Minnesota 40.
An offside call on the defense put the ball at the 35 and Vinatieri knocked it through the uprights with ease to give Luck his first NFL win.
The Stanford product finished with 224 yards and two scores on 20-of-31 passing for the Colts (1-1), who did not win for the first time last season until Week 15.
"To get a win was something I really wanted for this team," Luck said. "For me personally, it's nice to not have that looming over us for the next game."
Avery caught nine passes for 111 yards, while Wayne hauled in six balls for 71 yards and a touchdown. Donald Brown led the rushing attack with 45 yards on 16 carries.
"We knew it was going to be tough. They're all tough," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "I'm just really proud of every player and coach for hanging in there for 60 minutes."
Christian Ponder threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns on 27-of-35 passing for the Vikings (1-1), who snuck past the Jacksonville Jaguars in overtime last week.
Kyle Rudolph and Stephen Burton caught touchdown passes and Percy Harvin racked up 104 yards on 12 catches. Adrian Peterson ran for 60 yards on 16 carries in his second game back since major reconstructive surgery on his left knee.
"It was a tough loss for our guys," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "You have to give credit to the Indianapolis Colts, though, they did a nice job."
Minnesota began the game with possession at the 23 and marched down to the Indianapolis 33 with a 12-play, 44-yard drive before Blair Walsh banged a 51- yard field goal through for the early lead.
But the Colts answered with a long drive of their own.
Starting from their own 20, the home side went 80 yards in 13 plays down to the Minnesota 3-yard line, highlighted by a 41-yard completion down the right sideline to Avery.
Luck then hit Dwayne Allen three plays later for the score, putting the Colts up 7-3 late in the opening quarter.
Minnesota began its ensuing touch with excellent field position at the 43 thanks to a 50-yard kickoff return by Harvin.
From there, the drive moved down to the Indy 11 and Walsh was good from 29 yards out, making it a one-point game.
Indy's defense came up with a big play midway through the second frame as Ponder was sacked by Jerrell Freeman and lost the ball, which was recovered by Cory Redding at the Minnesota 48.
The Colts went 40 yards in nine plays and Vinatieri made it a 10-6 game with a 26-yard field goal.
The Colts began their final drive of the opening half with 1:11 remaining, Luck ran the two-minute offense to perfection as he marched his offense down to the Vikings 30 before hitting Wayne over the middle for a 30-yard TD strike and a 17-6 halftime lead.
Indy got the ball to start the second half and was forced to punt on 4th- and-5, but the drive was given new life as Andrew Sendejo was called for roughing the kicker, giving the Colts a first down at the 40.
Later in the drive, Luck was chased out of bounds on a 3rd-and-16 play by Jared Allen, but he pushed the rookie QB out of bounds late and was whistled for another 15-yard penalty. Vinatieri capped the 14-play, 53-yard drive with a 45-yarder for a 20-6 advantage.
After struggling through most of the second half, the Vikings offense finally got it in gear early in the fourth quarter.
Starting from their own 46 with 10:10 on the clock, Ponder led a 10-play, 54- yard drive and capped it with a seven-yard strike to Burton, pulling the Vikings within one score.
On the Colts ensuing possession, Luck took a huge 22-yard sack on 3rd-and-5 to force a punt. Minnesota got the ball back at the Indy 47 and made it to the 6-yard line, where Ponder connected with Rudolph for a touchdown to tie the game at 20 with 31 seconds left.
Colts wide receiver Austin Collie was inactive due to a head injury, while tackle Winston Justice (head) and linebacker Dwight Freeney (ankle) also missed the contest ... The Colts lead the all-time series between the teams, 15-7-1 ... Allen's touchdown catch was his first catch in the NFL ... The Colts have won the last four meetings between the sides ... Minnesota went 7- for-15 on third down.