After blasting out to a 17-0 lead over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Minnesota Vikings started the second quarter with the ball at their own 40-yard line after a Bengals’ punt finished the first quarter of play. Case Keenum overshot Adam Thielen on first down and Jerick McKinnon got a short gain on second down, but Keenum found Stefon Diggs on third down for a big gain into Cincinnati territory, but Nick Easton was flagged for his second penalty of the afternoon to negate the gain and bring up 3rd-and-19. Keenum was forced to check it down to Jarius Wright, and he was stopped short of the sticks. Ryan Quigley was called on to punt it away, and Alex Erickson took it to the Cincinnati 24-yard line.
The Bengals finally got a first down to start their next drive, as Andy Dalton found A.J. Green for a 14-yard gain on first down. However, the Bengals couldn’t get any more, as Brian Robison sacked Dalton on third down to squelch the Cincinnati drive. Kevin Huber punted it away, and the punt went out of bounds at the Minnesota 23-yard line.
The Vikings got another huge play on their next possession, as Keenum found Jerick McKinnon on a 3rd-and-2 play that went for 41 yards and gave the Vikings the ball at the Cincinnati 28-yard line. Minnesota then found themselves look at 3rd-and-2 from the 20, and Keenum went for McKinnon again. The pass fell incomplete, but Vincent Rey was flagged for pass interference to give the Vikings a first down. Minnesota took advantage, as after a holding penalty on Jarius Wright, Keenum found Stefon Diggs on a great throw from 20 yards out for another Minnesota touchdown. Forbath was good on the extra point again, and it was 24-0 in favor of the home team midway through the second quarter.
Forbath’s kickoff went to the end zone for another touchback, giving the Bengals the ball at their own 25. They got themselves to within a 3rd-and-1, but Danielle Hunter came in untouched for a huge sack to make it another three-and-out for the Bengals. Kevin Huber’s punt was taken to the Minnesota 31-yard line by Marcus Sherels.
A couple of runs, one from Latavius Murray and one on an end-around by Stefon Diggs, gave the Vikings a quick first down on their next possession. A couple of runs by McKinnon gave the Vikings a 3rd-and-3 near midfield, but Mike Remmers was flagged for a false start to make it 3rd-and-8 at the two-minute warning. After the break, Keenum’s pass to Diggs was well short of the sticks, and the Vikings were forced to punt again. Ryan Quigley did an outstanding job, as Jayron Kearse was able to down the punt at the Cincinnati 2-yard line.
The Bengals pretty badly mismanaged their final possession, as the Vikings used their timeouts to force them to punt it away with 51 seconds remaining. But, thanks to another penalty, the Vikings had to start at their own 29-yard line. The Vikings then decided to run out the clock with Jerick McKinnon, and they went into the locker room with a 24-0 lead.
Case Keenum’s numbers have been fairly impressive thus far, as he’s completed 13-of-15 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. Jerick McKinnon is the team’s leading receiver as things stand right now, at least in terms of yardage. He has three catches for 48 yards. Stefon Diggs has five receptions for 30 yards and Keenum’s lone touchdown pass. Keenum has been spreading the ball around, as there are five receivers that have one catch for the Vikings thus far. They are Latavius Murray (28 yards), Adam Thielen (21 yards), Kyle Rudolph (16 yards), Jarius Wright (11 yards), and C.J. Ham (6 yards).
Murray is the leading rusher for the Vikings thus far, as he has 22 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Keenum has a 20-yard scramble, and McKinnon has six carries for 14 yards. Diggs also has seven yards on an end around.
The big story thus far has been the Minnesota defense. In addition to three sacks of Andy Dalton, they’ve held the Bengals to just one first down and 42 total offensive yards.
The Minnesota Vikings appear to be on track to wrap up the NFC North division crown today, as they have a commanding 24-0 halftime lead over the Cincinnati Bengals. Come on in and join us for the second half of action in this one!