Coming into their Week 9 contest, the Minnesota Vikings had never beaten the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium, suffering an overtime loss in 2016 and a regulation loss in 2017. On Sunday afternoon, the Vikings’ defense did everything they could to ensure that it wouldn’t get to three in a row.
Paced by a defense that set a new franchise record by sacking Matthew Stafford ten times and found the end zone themselves once, the Vikings overcame a lackluster offensive performance to take down their division rivals by a final score of 24-9.
The Vikings wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, marching down the field on their first drive of the game and getting into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray to take a 7-0 lead.
Right place, right time.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 4, 2018
That was all the scoring in the first quarter, and a pair of Matt Prater field goals in the second quarter made the score 7-6. Then, Dalvin Cook announced his return from injury in a big way with a huge 70-yard run.
Dalvin Cook lets loose for 70 pic.twitter.com/ml1rIqiO1u— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) November 4, 2018
That set up the Vikings’ second touchdown, as Kirk Cousins found Adam Thielen for a two-yard score.
Thielen touchdown -- great touch and placement by Cousins pic.twitter.com/qwetohkErp— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) November 4, 2018
Minnesota added a Dan Bailey field goal just before halftime, and the home team went into the locker room with a 17-6 lead.
There was no scoring in the third quarter, and the Vikings appeared to be looking to add more in the fourth quarter when Kirk Cousins attempted to pitch the ball to Cook, only to have Cook put it on the ground for a Lions recovery. Once again, however, the Vikings’ defense stood tall, and provided the dagger to Detroit’s hopes.
Danielle Hunter scores because you can't just improvise a lateral option without telling anyone pic.twitter.com/Qv630cY3GP— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) November 4, 2018
Matthew Stafford was scrambling to his right, and attempted to pitch the ball to an unsuspecting Kerryon Johnson. The ball fell to the turf, and because it was pitched backwards, it was a live ball. Danielle Hunter alertly jumped on the ball, and rumbled 32 yards for a defensive touchdown for the Vikings, with Bailey’s extra point making it 24-6.
The Lions did get a field goal from Prater with just over a minute to go, and that’s how it ended at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The real story of this game was the Minnesota defense, as they made life miserable for the Lions’ offense all game. They sacked Stafford ten times, led by 3.5 for Hunter and 2.5 for Tom Johnson. Everson Griffen collected 1.5 sacks, and Mackensie Alexander and Stephen Weatherly each picked up one. Sheldon Richardson was credited with half a sack to round out the total. The Lions could get nothing going on offense all afternoon, as the Minnesota defense just didn’t allow them any room to breathe.
The one down stat from this one is that Adam Thielen failed to break his tie with Calvin Johnson for the most consecutive 100-yard receiving performances in NFL history. He had eight coming into this one, but the Lions held him in check, giving him just four receptions for 22 yards. He did, however, record a touchdown reception for the sixth consecutive game, so that’s a decent consolation prize, I suppose.
Kirk Cousins had a very up-and-down game in this one. He had, by far, his lowest statistical output as a Viking, completing 18-of-22 passes for just 164 yards, one touchdown, and one pretty inexplicable interception in the first half. Still, it was good enough in this one.
On the receiving side, Laquon Treadwell actually led the Vikings with 37 yards on a pair of receptions. Kyle Rudolph had a pair of receptions for 28 yards, and Chad Beebe, making his NFL debut with Stefon Diggs on the sideline, caught three passes for 21 yards. Dalvin Cook had four receptions for 20 yards in his return, and Aldrick Robinson chipped in with a pair of catches for 20 yards. Latavius Murray also had one 16-yard reception.
Dalvin Cook had a nice return in his first game since Week 4. He had the big 70-yard run, and finished with 89 yards on ten carries. Latavius Murray had 31 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, and Adam Thielen had a five-yard run.
The Vikings move their record to 5-3-1, and will take their bye this coming week before returning to face the Chicago Bears in Week 11 at Soldier Field. The Lions fall to 3-5, and they will host those same Bears next week.
The Minnesota Vikings get a huge divisional win in Week 9, taking down the Detroit Lions by a final score of 24-9 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of today’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!