It wasn’t the prettiest ball game you’ve ever watched, but in the National Football League the ugly wins count every bit as much in the standings as the pretty ones do.
Led by a dominating defensive performance, the Minnesota Vikings took advantage of an undermanned Baltimore Ravens offense and captured their third consecutive win, emerging victorious at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon by a score of 24-16.
Baltimore got on the board first, taking advantage of a Case Keenum interception and an unnecessary roughness penalty on Andrew Sendejo to put together a scoring drive. Justin Tucker connected on a field goal from 48 yards out to give the visiting team an early 3-0 advantage. Minnesota answered on their next drive, with Kai Forbath putting one between the uprights from 52 yards out to tie the game at 3-3. That was all of the scoring for the first quarter.
Forbath connected on a long kick for the first points of the second quarter as well, as he bombed one home from 51 yards out to give the Vikings their first lead at 6-3. Not to be outdone, Tucker answered with a blast from 57 yards out to bring things back to even at 6-6. After another drive stalled out for the Vikings near the end of the half, Forbath came on again and connected from 43 yards out to give the home team a 9-6 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
Yes, nothing but field goals in the first half, and it was every bit as exciting as the two preceding paragraphs made it sound.
Not wanting to get people overly excited, the Vikings gave us another Forbath field goal to start the second half, this one a 43-yarder to make it 12-6 with just under eleven minutes remaining in the third quarter. We finally got a touchdown midway through the third quarter, as Latavius Murray found the end zone for the first time as a Viking. He took a handoff from Keenum and rumbled in from 29 yards out to give Minnesota an 18-6 lead. . .and the lead stayed at 18-6 because Forbath missed the extra point off of the right upright.
Baltimore added another field goal from Tucker late in the third quarter, a 47-yarder to cut the Vikings’ lead to 18-9. Forbath answered with yet another field goal, this one a 34-yarder to extend Minnesota’s lead to 21-9. Forbath got his sixth field goal late in the fourth quarter, a 32-yarder that made the score 24-9 in favor of the home team. Baltimore did get a touchdown on the very last play of the game, as Flacco found Chris Moore for a 13-yard touchdown pass, and Tucker hit the extra point to make the final score 24-16.
The Vikings didn’t exactly light it up on the stat sheet in this one. Case Keenum was a bit inconsistent on the afternoon, as he completed 20-of-31 passes for just 188 yards, no touchdown, and an interception. Jarius Wright. . .yes, Jarius Wright. . .was actually Minnesota’s leading receiver, as he brought in three catches for 54 yards. Kyle Rudolph had five catches for 43 yards, and Adam Thielen. . .who came into the game leading the NFC in receiving yardage. . .was limited to 41 yards on five catches. Laquon Treadwell had three catches for 28 yards, C.J. Ham had one 12-yard reception, and McKinnon wound up with ten yards on three receptions.
The big performance on the afternoon went to Latavius Murray. He went over the 100-yard mark for the first time as a member of the Vikings, picking up 113 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries. McKinnon carried the ball 14 times for 47 yards, and Keenum had a nine-yard scramble.
The big story in this one, however, was the defense. The Vikings didn’t allow the Ravens’ offense inside of the 20-yard line until there was 1:15 left in the game, and kept them out of the end zone until Flacco’s meaningless touchdown pass on the game’s final play. They also registered five sacks of Flacco, and made life miserable for a short-handed Ravens’ offense in general.
The Vikings move to 5-2 on the season, and they’ll travel to London next week to take on the 0-7 Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium in London. Baltimore falls to 3-4, and they’ve got a short week coming, as they will host Thursday Night Football against the Miami Dolphins this week.
The Minnesota Vikings win a fairly ugly game over the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 24-16 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Thank you to everybody that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!