INDIANAPOLIS – The first win of Chuck Pagano's tenure as an NFL head coach came in dramatic fashion at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Behind a stingy run defense, the Colts jumped out to a 20-6 lead and carried that through most of the fourth quarter.
The Vikings, who would go on to earn a spot in the playoffs, answered with two late fourth quarter touchdowns thus tying the score at 20 with just 31 seconds remaining.
With rookies scattered across the offense, the Colts were still able to execute a near flawless drive moving into Vikings territory quickly.
It started with quarterback Andrew Luck finding wide receiver Donnie Avery on a 20-yard gain. Next, Luck found wide receiver Reggie Wayne for 20 yards on nearly the same route allowing arguably the game's most clutch kicker to add another notch on a Hall of Famer resume.
Kicker Adam Vinatieri connected on the 53-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining, marking the 24th time he has converted a game winning field goal.
OFFENSIVE HIGHLIGHT: Bouncing back from a difficult NFL debut, Luck was efficient in a 20-of-31 effort for 224 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Avery paced the receiving corps with nine catches for 111 yards.
DEFENSIVE HIGHLIGHT: The Colts rush defense was tremendous in the season opener at Lucas Oil Stadium. Vikings All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson would go on to capture MVP honors after his 2,097-yard season but he was limited to a season-low 60 yards on 16 carries against the Colts.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: "It's always special," Vinatieri said of his 53-yard game-winning kick on Sunday.
"Any time you can go out and help your team win a game and put points on the board, it's a great feeling, no matter what the distance is and what the circumstances are. It's nice to go out there and show them I still got some lead left in the pencil."
INTERESTING FACT: Vinatieri's 24th game winning field goal in his 17 NFL seasons held special meaning. The 53-yarder against the Vikings was two yards longer than his previous long for game winning kicks.