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Local, die-hard Vikings fans witness NFL history

“The second half was insane. It got so loud, my wife had to plug her ears. I’ve been to a number of Vikings games, but that was by far the loudest game I’ve gone to.” ~ Tanner Rasche, Park Rapids

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Nevis' Aaron Aslesen (left) and 6-year-old son Parker were able to go on the field prior to the Vikings' historic comeback against Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 17.
Contributed / Katie Aslesen
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Tanner Rashcke of Park Rapids had a memorable 31st birthday.

Rashcke was among the 66,801 fans who attended Saturday’s history-making Minnesota Vikings game against Indianapolis at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings made history by rallying from a 33-0 halftime deficit for a 39-36 overtime win to not only clinch the NFC North Division title, but also set an NFL record in the process.

The 33-point comeback topped the previous record in which Buffalo rallied from a 35-3 deficit to defeat Houston 41-38 in overtime in an AFC playoff game in 1992.

Raschke, who received the tickets as a birthday present from his wife Ashley’s aunt, was glad they stayed for the entire game.

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“I’m so happy I got the tickets,” said Rashcke. “I was pretty disappointed with their performance in the first half, but as far as how the game ended, it was by far the best Vikings game I’ve ever seen in my life. It was the best birthday I’ve ever had.”

The Raschkes had seats in the end zone where the fourth-quarter comeback happened. Both were happy they didn’t leave early.

“There were more people on their phones than watching the game. People were walking out at halftime. I couldn’t blame them. I think that was the worst I’ve seen the Vikings play in my life,” said Raschke. “It was my wife’s first Vikings game and I told her how sorry I was that this had to be her first game, but we decided to stick it out. We were pretty dedicated to staying since it was a birthday gift. I’m glad we did. I would have beat myself up if we would have left early.”

The Vikings’ performance in the second half turned a chorus of boos into a chaotic chorus of cheers.

“I thought the fans were going to start a riot. They were throwing beer cans and paper airplanes on the field,” said Raschke. “The second half was insane. It got so loud, my wife had to plug her ears. I’ve been to a number of Vikings games, but that was by far the loudest game I’ve gone to.”

For Raschke, the game went from the worst first half possible to the most improbable finish.

“I thought they had zero chance to come back and win. I follow football and I knew it would take a miracle,” said Raschke. “It was a great finish. It was a real miracle.”

Parker Aslesen enjoys first game

Even though Parker Aslesen couldn’t make it to the end, the Nevis 6-year-old won’t forget his first Vikings game.

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Parker’s father, Aaron, received tickets to the game through work.

“I was lucky enough to get tickets and pre-game passes,” said Aaron. “We were able to go on the field during warm ups and Parker got to play catch with some Vikings players. It was pretty cool.”

Parker, who was awake at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for the opportunity to watch warm-ups from 10 to 11:30 a.m., was in awe of the atmosphere on his first trip to U.S. Bank Stadium.

“It was my son’s first game and he was surprised by how loud it was. It was a fun and exciting environment,” said Aaron. “There was a lot of booing in the first half and quite a few people left at halftime. The people we were sitting around didn’t think we’d come back and win, but they didn’t give up.”

By the end of the third quarter, Parker was exhausted. Even though the Aslesens didn’t see the historic comeback in person, they did listen to the ending on the radio on their way home.“We had planned on leaving early. By the end of the third quarter, Parker was pretty tired and was ready to throw in the towel. I didn’t think we would miss a historic comeback. I wish we could have stayed. If Parker was older, we would have stayed,” said Aaron. “Parker was yelling with all the fans and said he loved it. It was a fun ride home. We listened to the end of the game on the way home. Parker has already asked me if we can do it again.”

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Park Rapids Area High School choir teacher Gunnar Aas (middle) was among the fans who witnessed the Minnesota Vikings make NFL history at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 17.
Contributed / Gunnar Aas

Aas witnesses NFL history

Gunnar Aas will always remember his first trip to U.S. Bank Stadium.

“This was my second Vikings game that I have been to, but my first at U.S. Bank Stadium,” said the Park Rapids Area High School choir teacher. “It is easily the best football game that I have seen in person.”

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Despite facing unlikely odds of a comeback, Aas didn’t even consider leaving the game early.

“The entire stadium was clearly frustrated. My buddies and I looked at each other at halftime and were seriously wondering if we were going to see the backups for the Colts play. It seemed like we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Aas. “We joked about leaving the game at halftime, but never seriously thought about it. All of us try to have an ‘it’s not over till it's over’ mentality, particularly with the Vikings. But when was the last time you have seen any team come back when they are down 33-0? We weren't going to leave, but it was tough to stay hopeful. My friends and I joked that the Vikings are always a second half team, but I don't think anyone in that stadium imagined that we would come back and win.”

Being only 21 rows up, Aas was able to get a close look as the Vikings rallied for the win.

“My friends and I had great seats. We were sitting in Section 107, which was at the 20-yard line on the visitor’s side. We had an awesome view of K.J. Osborn’s catch to put the Vikings at first and goal. We also had a clear view of Adam Thielen’s touchdown, which was incredible to see. To be honest, I was incredibly lucky and got offered a ticket from a close friend of mine back in September to go to the game. In my lifetime, the Colts have always been a high-level football team, so it was a game that I was really excited for,” said Aas. “There really aren't words to describe how happy I am that we stayed until the end. There were people leaving at the end of regulation and I could not believe it. My friends and I witnessed NFL history. Even three days after the game, it is tough to fully process what I saw. It was a historic moment for not only Minnesota sports, but also the entire NFL. Someday, my grandkids will ask me about the 2022 Vikings comeback against the Colts and I will be able to say ‘It was spectacular. I was there.’”

Aas will always remember the electric atmosphere inside the stadium on that historic day.

“After Dalvin Cook’s touchdown, the entire stadium went crazy. The stadium got so loud, I could feel it in my chest. I think everyone could feel it. While we Vikings fans were roaring with excitement, the Colts fans sitting behind us got very quiet,” said Aas. “This game was historic for the Vikings franchise, for the NFL and I think for all of sports. In the future when people talk about never giving up, they are going to reference the 2022 Vikings vs. Colts game. While the stakes for the game weren’t as high, I think it just edges out the Minneapolis Miracle as far as memorable games go. The Minneapolis Miracle was spectacular, but to witness history with my own eyes, I think Saturday’s game takes the cake.”

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1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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