Talk about an emotional roller coaster.
Minnesota backup quarterback Wade Wilson, who started because Tommy Kramer was banged up, was yanked after a disappointing first half Sunday in which the Philadelphia Eagles took a 23-0 lead, then returned in the fourth quarter and led the Vikings to a 28-23 victory.
Kramer completed only 6 of 14 passes for 44 yards in the first half, but after UCLA rookie Steve Bono completed only 1 of 10 passes for 5 yards in the third quarter, Wilson was sent back in with 11:33 left.
This time, Wilson hit 7 of 13 passes for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a pair to Anthony Carter. The game-winning touchdown came on a 42-yard pass play to Carter with 1:11 left.
“I had mixed emotions about going back in,” said Wilson, a fifth-year player from East Texas State who had thrown just 33 passes this year. “I wasn’t really ready. I was angry inside. I was angry at the way I played, and angry at being yanked.
“My emotions were so down and up in this game.”
The Eagles led, 23-0, when the Vikings, after driving 58 yards in seven plays, finally scored on a seven-yard pass from Wilson to running back Allen Rice with 8:27 left.
Minnesota cut it to 23-14 with 6:01 left when cornerback Willie Teal picked up a fumble by Eagle quarterback Ron Jaworski and ran 65 yards for a touchdown.
The Eagles took the ensuing kickoff and Jaworski completed a pass to John Spagnola, but the tight end fumbled at his 36 and safety Joey Browner recovered for the Vikings.
On third down, Wilson threw 36 yards to Carter for the Vikings’ third touchdown during a span of 4:29 to make it 23-21 with 3:58 remaining.
The Eagles were unable to gain on their next possession, and punted to Carter, who returned 22 yards to the Minnesota 40. The Vikings ended up with a fourth-and-five at the Eagle 42, from where Wilson connected with Carter for the deciding touchdown.
The Eagles took their 23-0 lead on Jaworski touchdown passes to Spagnola and Mike Quick, and three field goals by Paul McFadden.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for Minnesota (6-7). The Eagles are also 6-7.
Minnesota Coach Bud Grant said Kramer was unable to play because of “general wear and tear.”
Minnesota had a big comeback in 1977, when the Vikings trailed San Francisco, 24-0, and stormed back to win, 28-27.
“I can’t remember going from zero to 28 in one period,” said Grant, a 28-year coaching veteran.
Eagle Coach Marion Campbell said his team played for 30 minutes and did nothing in the second half. “We should have gone for 60 minutes,” he said. “We blew it, and it boggles the mind.”