From Section 316 at U.S. Bank Stadium, things were looking bleak.

Some fans started leaving in the middle of the second quarter, when the Vikings looked more like a Keystone Kops routine than a team trying to clinch the NFC North. Paper airplanes rained down from bored fans. When quarterback Kirk Cousins kneeled to end the first half, the Vikings down 33-0 to a mediocre Indianapolis Colts team, the stadium echoed with boos.

If Brett Delage hadn't driven from Fergus Falls with his wife for seats he bought for $120 apiece, he said, he would have left at halftime too. It wasn't just that his team was losing. It was that his team was pathetic.

But if he'd left, the 28-year-old lifelong Vikings fan would have missed the greatest comeback in NFL history. In what fans quickly dubbed the Minneapolis Miracle Part II, the Vikings stormed back in the second half, tied the game with an indomitable catch-and-run by Dalvin Cook with a couple minutes left in regulation, then won it with a field goal with three seconds left in overtime.

For a franchise whose history is mired in disappointment — the four Super Bowl losses, the Gary Anderson missed field goal, the Blair Walsh missed field goal, on and on ad infinitum — the feeling among fans Saturday was something new. They honked horns. They sang "Skol, Vikings."

They felt hope, renewed.

Juan Solis walked outside the stadium Saturday evening in his Eric Kendricks jersey as his younger brother teased him for wanting to leave at halftime.

"I love the Vikings to death, but that first half — I was not happy whatsoever," said Solis, 31, of Plymouth. "I did say, 'I'm about to leave.' But I'm diehard. I can't. I have to finish this game. And thank God I did."

During halftime, Blake Andert, a season-ticket holder in section 138, met friends at a bar inside the stadium. He was morose.

"The feeling at the bar? Game's over, season's over, people are leaving, calling for the [defensive] coordinator Ed Donatell to be fired," said Andert, 27, of Eagan. "But all the sudden they started driving. Then Dalvin taking it to the house, people start believing."

"And hey, why not believe?" Andert continued. "There's something different about this team. After a while, it's not luck. I've been living in Minnesota my whole life. I've been let down so many times. But all you have in this life is hope."

Bruce Froehlich, a retired farmer from Winthrop, has been a season-ticket holder for nearly 40 years. The only game he's missed in that time was for his daughter's wedding. He's witnessed the heartbreak, but he starts every season with a realistic optimism. He thought Saturday's game was more exciting than the first Minneapolis Miracle, when Stefon Diggs won the game on an improbable walk-off touchdown, because this historic comeback built slowly over the course of 30 minutes of football.

Plus, it was a great birthday gift. On Sunday, Froehlich turns 70.

He does not believe this team is Super Bowl-bound: Too many holes. But there's something about this team's character that feels special: A resilience that shone brightly on Saturday, one that reflects a long-suffering, still-hoping fan base.

"They just keep going," Froehlich said. "You gotta be dedicated. How many people would just throw in the towel and say, 'Hell with them, I'm never going to come back.' But it turned out good. And even if they would have lost, I would have come for the next game."