It looked like the Minnesota Vikings were going to roll early on, but really. . .as Vikings fans, we know that rarely ever happens.
As it turns out, the Vikings had a lot of work ahead of them, but they eventually got the job done as they beat the New York Jets in overtime by a score of 30-24.
The Vikings got off to a fast start, courtesy of the defense. Geno Smith dropped back to pass on the Jets' first offensive play, and while he was looking for Percy Harvin, he wound up finding linebacker Gerald Hodges, who gathered in the interception and returned it 27 yard for a score. Just twelve seconds into the game, the Vikings found themselves staked to a 7-0 lead.
The Vikings forced the Jets to punt on their next series, but a false start penalty on the Vikings pushed Minnesota back a bit, and in the shadow of their own goal line, Teddy Bridgewater dropped back to pass and was sacked by Jets' defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. Following the safety, the score was 7-2 in favor of the home team.
The Jets added to their total following the free kick after the safety, as Smith found Harvin for a 35-yard touchdown, with Nick Folk's extra point making it 9-7 late in the first quarter. Undeterred, Bridgewater and company answered back on the next drive, as Bridgewater found his new favorite target for a big play, as Charles Johnson hauled in a 56-yard pass to put the Vikings back on top 14-9.
Folk added another field goal before the end of the first quarter, and the quarter ended with the Vikings on top, 14-12. Early in the second quarter, it appeared that Bridgewater and Johnson had connected again, as Johnson took the ball down to the 1-yard line. However, he was hit and fumbled the ball at the goal line. In a big stroke of luck, fullback Jerome Felton alertly jumped on the ball in the end zone, giving the Vikings another touchdown. It was the first score of Felton's seven-year career, and it put the Vikings on top by a score of 21-12.
It was basically a field goal battle after that, as Folk hit field goals in the second, third, and fourth quarters to tie the score at 21. Blair Walsh hit a 20-yarder late in the fourth to put the Vikings back on top by a score of 24-21, but Folk answered with his fifth of the day with less than 30 seconds left to tie the game at 24. Walsh had an opportunity at a 56-yarder at the end of regulation, but he hit as bad a kick as you'll ever see Walsh hit, and the miss sent the game to overtime.
Minnesota forced the Jets to punt on their first series of overtime, and took over at their own 8-yard line after the punt. On 3rd-and-5 from the Minnesota 13, Bridgewater threw a short screen pass to the right to Jarius Wright. Wright got a huge block from Greg Jennings, and Wright did the rest from there, blasting down the sideline for an 87-yard score. . .the longest play of his career and of Bridgewater's career. . .to give the Vikings a thrilling 30-24 overtime victory.
Bridgewater, overall, played a pretty solid game for the Vikings, completing 19-of-27 passes for 309 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception (the interception came on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half). For the first time in a long time, the Vikings had two receivers go over the 100-yard mark, as Wright had four grabs for 123 yards and the deciding touchdown, and Johnson had four catches for 103 yards and a score. The run game didn't do much for the Vikings on the afternoon, with Matt Asiata gaining 54 yards on 19 carries to lead the Vikings.
The much-maligned Jets offense came to life a bit against Minnesota. Geno Smith completed 18-of-29 passes for 254 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Percy Harvin got a measure of revenge against his former team, catching six passes for 124 yards and a score. Eric Decker, who played his college ball for the Golden Gophers, also had six catches, totaling 89 yards. Chris Ivory led the Jets in rushing with 73 yards on 16 carries, but had a crucial fumble inside the Minnesota 5-yard line that the Vikings recovered to snuff out a New York scoring threat.
The victory for Minnesota pushes their record to 6-7, guaranteeing that they will have a better record than they did in 2013. They have a tall task ahead of them next week, however, as they travel to Ford Field to take on the 9-4 Detroit Lions. The Jets fall to 2-11 with the loss, and they take on the Tennessee Titans next week.
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