For the first time this season, I get to write about a Vikings win in back-to-back weeks.
Thanks to a punishing ground game and the team doubling its turnovers created for the season, the Minnesota Vikings came away with a 34-20 win over the Detroit Lions. The victory pushed the Vikings’ record to 3-5, while the loss dropped the Lions to an identical 3-5 record.
BIG HALF OF BIG PLAYS
After holding the Lions to a three-and-out on their first possession, the Vikings took over and made quick work of the Lions’ defense. They would move 67 yards in just five plays, with Dalvin Cook toting the rock across the goal line from five yards out for a 7-0 lead.
After a missed Matt Prater field goal (you read this right; someone missed a field goal against the Vikings), Minnesota’s offense went back to work. The 64-yard drive this time ended in a Kirk Cousins to Irv Smith, Jr. nine-yard touchdown pass. A missed Dan Bailey extra point kept the score at 13-0.
Detroit would finally get on the scoreboard after a 13-play, 70-yard drive ended in a Prater 23-yard field goal. A great stand by the Vikings defense prevented it from being more when they stuffed former standout running back, Adrian Peterson, for a four-yard loss on third down.
Detroit kept its momentum going with a 72-yard drive that ended in a Matthew Stafford to Marvin Jones, Jr. 15-yard touchdown pass.
The Vikings wasted little time in getting that touchdown back. They drove 87 yards in just 64 seconds culminating in a pretty 22-yard screen pass from Cousins to former Lion, Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah launched himself from near the two yard line extending the ball just inside the left pylon.
The score gave the Vikings a 20-10 lead at the half.
MICHELIN STAR CHEF
The Vikings would increase their lead to 27-10 on the second possession of the third quarter. The 9-play, 77-yard drive ended in Irv Smith, Jr.’s second touchdown catch of the game, this one from a yard out. The big plays on the drive were a 35-yard hookup from Cousins to Justin Jefferson and an 18-yard pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-6 from the Detroit 21.
Detroit would march 55 yards on its next possession, but a great read by Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson turned into an interception on the 12-yard line. It was Wilson’s third of the season to lead the Vikings.
Unable to move the ball, Minnesota set up to punt. Austin Bryant came through, blocking the punt and the Lions were in business on the Minnesota 22. Five plays later, Eric Kendricks would make a pretty interception in the back of the end zone, ending the Lions’ threat.
The Vikings’ offense again could do nothing. The Lions drove 42 yards after the punt and Prater nailed a 45-yard field goal that cut the Vikings’ lead to 27-13 with 11:02 left in the game.
The Vikings were getting hungry and called on “The Chef” to feed them. On the first play from scrimmage after the field goal, Cook took a handoff at the Minnesota 30-yard line, broke through the line, and outran everyone. The 70-yard touchdown run extended the lead to 34-13.
At this point, it was really the Vikings against the clock, but a second blocked punt — this one by Romeo Okwara — put Detroit on the Vikings two-yard line.
Backup QB Chase Daniel — in the game because Matthew Stafford was in concussion protocol — hit T.J. Hockenson with a two-yard touchdown pass on the first play after the blocked punt, and the Vikings lead was cut to 34-20 with 6:55 left in the game.
A pooch kick was returned to the Vikings 41 by Chad Beebe. Some strong running by Cook and Alexander Mattison helped the Vikings move 49 yards while eating five minutes off of the game clock. The drive would end with an incomplete pass in the end zone on 4th-and-1.
Detroit, with no timeouts, could only move to the Vikings 12-yard line before the game ended.
BY THE NUMBERS
Kirk Cousins had his second-consecutive error-free game. He completed 13-of-20 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings’ top receiver on the day was standout rookie Justin Jefferson, who had 64 yards on just three catches. Once again, the big star of the game was Dalvin Cook; he had his best rushing day as a pro, picking up 206 yards on 22 carries with a pair of touchdowns. Alexander Mattison chipped in with 69 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Matthew Stafford went 23-of-32 for 211 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions before leaving the game. Chase Daniel was 8-of-13 with 94 yards, a touchdown, and an interception in relief. The Lions rushed for 129 yards on 27 carries as a team, with D’Andre Swift leading the way. Swift had 64 yards on 13 carries. Former Viking Adrian Peterson had just 29 yards on eight carries. Danny Amendola led all receivers with 77 yards on seven catches.
Peterson has now faced the Vikings with three different teams (Saints, Redskins, Lions) and has seen his team lose all three times.
The Vikings head to Soldier Field next Monday night to take on the 5-3 Chicago Bears, who come off of a 24-17 loss to the Titans. The Lions return home to face the 2-6 Washington Football Team, a 23-20 loser to the New Jersey… um, New York Giants.
(Featured Image Credit: Vikings.com)