Widnes had Gareth Hock sent off but his side salvaged a point after a magnificent backs-to-the-wall effort against Bradford.
The forward, on loan from Wigan, was red-carded on the half hour by referee Robert Hicks for dissent after Matt Diskin bagged the Bulls’ third try to stretch their advantage to 16-4, following scores from Elliott Whitehead and Brett Kearney inside the opening five minutes.
However, the Vikings stunned Bradford by grabbing three tries without reply when they were down to 12 men through Rhys Hanbury, Patrick Ah Van and Lloyd White before an Ah Van penalty five minutes from time earned them a deserved draw.
Widnes were missing captain Kevin Brown who suffered an ankle injury on his debut against Hull, while Cameron Phelps and Stefan Marsh were also sidelined.
Bulls loose forward Jamie Langley made his 250th career appearance but goal-kicker Jamie Foster missed his first game since joining the club in the close-season.
Whitehead gave Bradford a flying start with the Bulls’ opening try from Kearney’s pass after only two minutes although stand-in marksman Jarrod Sammut was off target with the conversion attempt.
Bradford extended the lead to 10-0 after Kearney raced onto Keith Lulia’s off-load to force his way over with Sammut adding the extras.
Joe Mellor went close for Widnes before Paddy Flynn was forced to pull off a try saving tackle on Lulia after Danny Addy’s 40-20 kick.
The Vikings finally opened their account when Ah Van nipped round the blind side from dummy half against his old club to cut the gap to 10-4.
Ah Van almost bagged a second try as Widnes looked to regain their composure, but Diskin burrowed his way over from dummy half before Hock’s exit.
Sammut’s conversion made it 16-4 with the Vikings facing a massive task with only 12 men.
The numerical advantage paid off after 34 minutes with Lulia taking Sammut’s pass to cross and make it 20-4 at the break.
Bradford lost Matty Blythe after a first-half knock but conceded a second try when Hanbury crossed from White’s pass. Then Ah Van squeezed in at the corner and booted the conversion.
A Sammut penalty gave Bradford an eight-point cushion but Widnes were rewarded with a White try, with Ah Van’s conversion and penalty making it 22-22.
The Vikings almost snatched victory, but Hanbury’s drop goal attempt was just off target.
Widnes: Hanbury, Flynn, Dean, Isa, Ah Van, White, Mellor, Cross, Clarke, O’Carroll, Hock, Allen, Cahill. Substitutes: Winterstein, Kavanagh, Gerrard, Joseph.
Bradford: Kearney, Kear, Blythe, Lulia, C. Walker, Addy, Sammut, Scruton, L’Estrange, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Whitehead, Langley. Substitutes: Diskin, Donaldson, Murphy, Sidlow.
Referee: R Hicks (Oldham).