Holding on to a one-point lead at the half, the Minnesota Vikings had to kick the ball to the Atlanta Falcons to start the third quarter of play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The kickoff from Kai Forbath went for a touchback, giving Matt Ryan and company the ball at their own 25 to start their possession. A pass to Levine Toilolo and a big run by Devonta Freeman quickly moved the ball into Minnesota territory at the 48-yard line in just two plays. Ryan then found Mohamed Sanu for a 12-yard gain, and Atlanta was quickly into field goal range at the Minnesota 36. A third-down pass for Sanu was initially ruled a first down catch, but Mike Zimmer challenged and the pass was (correctly) ruled incomplete. Atlanta brought Matt Bryant in for another field goal attempt, this one a 47-yard attempt. Bryant was good again, and the Falcons had the lead back at 9-7.
Matt Bosher kicked the ball deep, and Marcus Sherels brought the ball out of the end zone to the 30-yard line for the Vikings to start their first possession of the second half. A nice run by Latavius Murray on first down was negated by a holding penalty on Rashod Hill, putting the Vikings in an early hole. As a result, the offense went three-and-out, and Ryan Quigley came on to punt the ball away. Andre Roberts called for a fair catch at the Atlanta 29, and that’s where Ryan and company picked back up again.
Ryan started the drive by finding Sanu for a gain of 14 to the Atlanta 43-yard line. After that, however, the Vikings’ defense stiffened, as they forced another punt. Matt Bosher came on to boot it away, and on the second punt (after the Falcons were called for holding on the first attempt), Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the Minnesota 11-yard line.
Passes to Adam Thielen and Latavius Murray gave the Vikings a first down out to the Falcons’ 29-yard line. Keenum then bought a lot of time in the pocket and hit Stefon Diggs for a 19-yard gain, and the Vikings were out to near midfield. Jerick McKinnon then took the ball into Falcons’ territory with a 7-yard run, but Murray was stopped to bring up a third-and-3. The Vikings got the conversion, as Keenum found Laquon Treadwell for a 9-yard gain to the 35.
A run by McKinnon and a jet sweep to Diggs brought up another third-and-short, and Keenum found Jarius Wright for enough yardage to move the chains. A couple more Murray runs brought up another short third down, this one a 3rd-and-1. Murray got the job done again, as he carried the ball down to the 8 to set up a first-and-goal.
As we move to the fourth quarter of play, the Vikings are looking at 2nd-and-goal from the Atlanta 6-yard line.
We have one quarter of play remaining at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and the Vikings trail the Falcons by a score of 9-7, but are threatening to add more points. Can the Vikings do enough to rack up their eighth consecutive victory and move to 10-2?