You wouldn't think the Minnesota Vikings would have had a lot of difficulty with the 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14 action. However, since this is the Vikings, they had difficulty after all. In this case, however, they actually overcame it.
Thanks to two fourth quarter touchdowns, the Vikings kept their post-season hopes alive by putting together a 25-16 win over the Jaguars at Everbank Field on Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota got on the board first, courtesy of a 43-yard field goal by Kai Forbath. The drive had one of the Vikings' longest offensive plays of the year, as Sam Bradford found Kyle Rudolph for a 44-yard gain, but the offense stalled and had to settle for three. They got a second field goal from Forbath on their next possession, this one a 32-yarder, to make it 6-0. That drive saw a 41-yard strike from Bradford to Adam Thielen to put the Vikings into the Jacksonville red zone, but the offense stalled again.
The field goal parade continued into the second quarter, as Jason Myers got Jacksonville on the board with a 45-yarder to make the score 6-3. Forbath answered with his third of the afternoon, a 40-yarder to make it 9-3, but Myers blasted one through from 55 yards out to make it 9-6.
Minnesota appeared to have a real shot at a touchdown late in the second quarter, as a couple of big plays set up a first-and-goal at the Jacksonville 3-yard line. However, as we've seen too many times this season, nothing is a given for this Minnesota offense, and Matt Asiata got stuffed on a 4th-and-goal attempt from the 1 to keep the Vikings out of the end zone. Thanks to a couple of Minnesota penalties, the Jaguars managed to get themselves into position for one more field goal, as Myers connected from 24 to tie the game at 9-9 going into the locker room at halftime.
Minnesota got the first points of the second half on. . .get this. . .another field goal by Forbath, this one a 46-yarder to give the Vikings the lead back at 12-9. Jacksonville then answered with the game's first touchdown, thanks in large part to a complete on-field meltdown by Xavier Rhodes, who committed numerous penalties on the drive. The Jags concluded the march with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles to Bryan Walters. Myers hit the extra point, and the Jaguars had a 16-12 lead.
The Vikings put together their best drive of the year on their next possession, as they marched it down the field and got their first touchdown of the afternoon on a 1-yard run by Matt Asiata. They were set up on a defensive holding by the Jaguars when the Vikings were on the 3. After a false start on the extra point, making it a 38-yard attempt, Kai Forbath missed the extra point and the lead was just two points at 18-16.
Minnesota had an opportunity to add to their lead midway through the fourth quarter, as a long run from Matt Asiata gave them first-and-goal at the Jacksonville 1-yard line. However, a couple of plays later Asiata had the ball stripped away at the goal line, and it was recovered by Jacksonville in the end zone for a touchback.
After forcing a three-and-out, however, the Vikings did get another score, as Bradford found Kyle Rudolph in the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass. Forbath hit the extra point this time around, and it put the Vikings up by a score of 25-16 with just over two minutes left in the game. That's how it ended, as the Vikings kept their post-season hopes alive.
Looking at the stat sheet, the numbers actually look fairly decent for the Vikings. Bradford completed 24-of-34 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown against a very good Jaguars' pass defense. Adam Thielen had the big day in the receiving column, as he had another 100-yard game, collecting 101 yards on just four receptions. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata combined for 68 yards and a touchdown on 25 rushes. . .not great, by any means.
For the Jaguars, Blake Bortles completed 23-of-37 passes for 257 yards and a score. Marquise Lee led all receivers in yardage today with 113 yards on five receptions. T.J. Yeldon led the Jaguars in rushing with 59 yards on 17 carries. Bortles was also sacked four times by the Minnesota defense, including a pair from Everson Griffen.
Minnesota moves their record to 7-6 on the season, and will return to U.S. Bank Stadium next weekend to host the Indianapolis Colts. Jacksonville falls to 2-11 on the season and will travel to Houston next week to take on the Texans in an AFC South battle.
The Minnesota Vikings get a come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 25-16. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week's game right here at The Daily Norseman!