ATLANTA – Brandon Powell went undrafted after playing receiver at Florida.

He had not scored a receiving touchdown since 2020.

He's with his sixth team since signing with the Lions in 2018.

He might not have been on the field in the fourth quarter on Sunday if not for injuries to Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn.

He would not have been on the field for the Vikings' game-winning drive if he had heeded the pain in his legs as he suffered through cramps.

He had not caught a pass from the Vikings quarterback of the moment, Joshua Dobbs, until pregame warmups.

"Man, I'm a punt returner," he said late Sunday afternoon in the Vikings locker room. "As a 5-8 guy, that's my job. That's what's going to keep me in the league."

Minutes before he said that, Powell caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Dobbs with 22 seconds remaining to give the Vikings a 31-28 victory. It was Powell's third career touchdown.

A Florida native, Powell provided 13 tickets for family members on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and would have provided more if "a bunch of people hadn't backed out at the last minute."

"My whole family was here," Powell said. "My momma, daddy, little sisters, grandma. They got to see me score a game-winning touchdown in the NFL. That's the best feeling for me.

"I'm thankful to [Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell] for calling the play, trusting me and putting me out there to win the game in front of my whole family. That was cool.''

The Vikings signed Powell in March. O'Connell had coached him with the Rams, and Powell had returned a punt 61 yards against the Vikings in 2021.

When Jefferson went down with a hamstring injury last month, "I got to get out there and make a play," Powell said. "I'm happy he's going to be back next week. When we get all of our troops, we're going to be dangerous."

Is he sure Jefferson will be able to return after missing a month with a hamstring injury?

"He'll be back,'' Powell said. "He's a hard worker. He'll be back."

On the game-winning play, Vikings receiver Jordan Addison ran toward the back of the end zone. The Falcons were playing a cover-4 defense, meaning they were playing a virtual zone.

The Vikings installed the play after seeing the Lions run it against the Falcons in Week 3. Powell had practiced it this week with rookie quarterback Jaren Hall, who started on Sunday before suffering a concussion and giving way to Dobbs. (According to O'Connell, Dobbs had only watched the play in the practice.)

"We worked on it a lot," Powell said. "Detroit ran that play and it was wide open. We practiced it. They played the right defense, cover-4, nickel [cornerback] tucked inside, and as soon as I saw the nickel tuck inside, I knew it was a touchdown. Josh made a great throw."

Powell limped off the field frequently during the game but never asked to stay out.

"There's nothing you can do about it except breathe," he said. "Just breathe, suck it up and get back out there. You don't even feel it. You just try to make a play."

You don't feel severe leg cramps that cause you to limp?

"You don't feel it … until after," he said. "It hurts."

He was not looking forward to the plane ride home, but befitting the circumstances, he said that while wearing a large smile.