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Minnesota Vikings 30, Detroit Lions 23: Vikings extend win streak to seven

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The Vikings got out to a couple of big leads, but the Lions just wouldn’t go away

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

On Thanksgiving Day, the Minnesota Vikings got themselves out to a couple of huge leads, but found themselves struggling with a game Detroit Lions team. In the end, however, the Vikings did what they needed to do in order to emerge with a seventh consecutive win.

Bolstered by another outstanding performance by Case Keenum and several key defensive stops, the Minnesota Vikings put a stranglehold on the NFC North on Thursday, defeating the Detroit Lions by a score of 30-23.

Minnesota got on the board first, marching 80 yards in 14 plays on their first possession of the game. The drive ended with Case Keenum finding a wide open Kyle Rudolph in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown pass, Rudolph’s fourth touchdown of the season. Kai Forbath had his extra point blocked by Detroit’s A’Shawn Robinson, and the Vikings’ lead was 6-0 midway through the first quarter.

Minnesota took advantage of a big Detroit turnover, as a miscommunication between Matthew Stafford and Ameer Abdullah resulted in a fumble that was recovered by Danielle Hunter at the Detroit 39. Minnesota found the end zone just three plays later, as Keenum kept the ball on a read option look for a 9-yard touchdown, and Forbath’s extra point gave the Vikings an early 13-0 lead.

Detroit got on the scoreboard in the second quarter, as Matt Prater connected on a 32-yard field goal to get the Lions on the scoreboard and cut the Vikings’ lead to 10 at 13-3. The Vikings attempted to answer with a Kai Forbath field goal, but his 53-yard attempt was blocked to keep it a 10-point margin.

Near the end of the second quarter, Keenum and Rudolph connected again, this time on a 22-yard score, with Forbath’s extra point making it 20-3 with under a minute remaining before halftime. Detroit then marched down the field, thanks to a long reception by rookie Kenny Golladay and a couple of big Vikings’ penalties. Stafford then found Marvin Jones for a 6-yard touchdown, and Matt Prater’s extra point cut Minnesota’s halftime margin down to 20-10.

The Vikings’ offense came out strong to start the second half, as they marched right down the field in four plays. . .all of them runs. Latavius Murray, who started the drive with a 46-yard run into Detroit territory, ended it with a two-yard plunge. Forbath added the extra point, and the Vikings then found themselves ahead by 17 points at 27-10. Detroit, after having a touchdown (correctly) overturned by replay, got a 32-yard field goal from Prater to cut the lead to 27-13 midway through the third.

Prater added a 50-yard field goal to make it 27-16, and after a terrible series for the Vikings’ offense, added more points on a 43-yard pass from Stafford to Marvin Jones. The Vikings were caught with 12 men on the field, and Stafford fired it deep for Jones, who caught the ball over Xavier Rhodes and went into the end zone. Prater’s extra point made the score 27-23 with just over fourteen minutes remaining in the contest.

Forbath added a 36-yard field goal near the end of the fourth quarter to give the Vikings a seven-point cushion at 30-23. Matthew Stafford tried to mount a comeback for the Lions, but had a fourth down pass deep in his own territory intercepted by Xavier Rhodes. That set up Forbath for another field goal attempt, this one a 25-yarder. The Lions appeared to block the attempt and return it for a touchdown, but Detroit was whistled for being offsides on the attempt. That gave the Vikings a first down, and win no timeouts left for Detroit, Minnesota took the victory formation and celebrated another big victory.

Case Keenum was very good for most of this football game, and his final numbers reflect that. He completed 21-of-30 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns. Both of those touchdown passes were hauled in by tight end Kyle Rudolph, who had four catches for 63 yards on the day.

The receivers, however, were lead by Adam Thielen. Thielen had eight catches for 89 yards on the afternoon, and in the process became the first Vikings’ receiver to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark since Sidney Rice in 2009. Stefon Diggs had five catches for 66 yards on the afternoon, and Jarius Wright had two catches for 25 yards. Jerick McKinnon had a 31-yard reception on a screen pass that set up a Vikings’ score, and Michael Floyd had one catch for eight yards.

On the ground, Latavius Murray led the way once again, as he carried the ball 20 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. Jerick McKinnon chipped in with 23 yards on 13 carries, and Keenum finished the day with 20 yards and a touchdown on seven attempts.

The Vikings move their record to 9-2, putting them three games clear of the 6-5 Lions in the NFC North division race, and giving the Vikings a huge advantage in the division down the stretch. Minnesota will have a mini-bye, and will travel south to take on the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13, while the Lions have a trip to Baltimore to take on the Ravens a week from Sunday.

The Minnesota Vikings chalk up their seventh consecutive victory, knocking off the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day at Ford Field by a final score of 30-23. Thank you to everyone that got their coverage of today’s game right here at The Daily Norseman, and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families.