At the start of the second quarter, the Minnesota Vikings had the ball with a 2nd-and-2 in Atlanta territory, trailing the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 3-0. The Vikings got a first down after a couple of run plays, and Case Keenum then found Latavius Murray for a nice gain to the Atlanta 34-yard line. Murray then carried the ball for a first down, and then busted a huge run as he carried the ball down to the Atlanta 2-yard line for a 30-yard gain.
On first-and-goal, Jerick McKinnon was stopped for no gain, but on second and goal Keenum rolled out to his right and found McKinnon open in the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown. The local guy then did the “Dirty Bird” dance to celebrate, and after the Kai Forbath extra point, the Vikings found themselves leading 7-3 with about ten minutes remaining.
Forbath’s kickoff went to Andre Roberts in the end zone, and he made the decision to take the ball out. It worked out well. . .for the Vikings, as Andrew Sendejo took Roberts down at the 17-yard line. Julio Jones, who has seen a lot of Xavier Rhodes so far, got his first catch of the afternoon, a 13-yarder to move the sticks. Matt Ryan then found Marvin Hall for a big gain to midfield, and the Falcons were on the move. Devonta Freeman then took a handoff and picked up ten more yards, and the Falcons got another fresh set of downs.
Ryan kept the hot hand going, as he found Mohamed Sanu for another big gain, this one down to the Minnesota 23-yard line. The Falcons were then called for a false start, and they were unable to convert a third-and-long, so they brought on Matt Bryant for another field goal attempt. This was a 36-yard attempt, and he got it just inside the left upright to cut the Minnesota lead to a point at 7-6.
Sherels took a knee on the kickoff from Bosher, giving the Vikings another start at their own 25-yard line. Keenum attempted to find Adam Thielen deep along the sideline, but the catch was (correctly) ruled out of bounds. After a run by McKinnon and an offsides penalty on the Falcons, Keenum was sacked by rookie Takkarist McKinley to bring an end to the Vikings’ possession. Quigley punted the ball away again, and Andre Roberts took the return to the Atlanta 32-yard line.
A couple of runs for the Falcons netted them a first down to the 42-yard line, and another run by Coleman gave the Falcons the ball near midfield at the two-minute warning. Ryan took a deep shot for Julio Jones, but the pass fell incomplete to bring up third down, and Mackensie Alexander knocked down a quick pass to force a fourth down. Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the Minnesota 8-yard line.
The Vikings got a first down on a pass from Keenum to Jarius Wright to the 23-yard line, and took a timeout with a minute remaining. Keenum then found Michael Floyd for a completion that got the ball to midfield with twelve seconds left on the clock. Keenum then found Adam Thielen in the middle of the field down to the Atlanta 30, but the Vikings had no timeouts remaining and the clock ran out before they could spike the ball. So, we go into the locker room with the Vikings holding a 1-point lead at 7-6.
Keenum has played a pretty solid first half, completing 12-of-17 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Michael Floyd is actually leading the Vikings in receiving right now, as he has two grabs for 20 yards. Thielen’s catch at the end of the first half, a 19-yarder, is his only catch of the afternoon so far. McKinnon has three grabs for 18 yards and a touchdown. Stefon Diggs and Jarius Wright each have one catch for 13 yards, and C.J. Ham has one 12-yard reception. Latavius Murray has two catches for nine yards, and Kyle Rudolph has one six-yard reception.
Murray has done most of the Vikings’ damage on the ground, as he has 45 yards on six carries, including the big 30-yarder that set up the lone touchdown of the afternoon. McKinnon has 10 yards on five carries, and Ham has a 1-yard run.
We are at halftime at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with the Minnesota Vikings clinging to a one-point lead over the Atlanta Falcons at 7-6. Atlanta will get the ball to start the second half. Come on in and join us for all the action!