Trailing the New England Patriots by a score of 10-7 after the first half of play, the Minnesota Vikings had to kick the ball away to start the second half. Dan Bailey’s kickoff went to old friend Cordarrelle Patterson, who returned the ball to the New England 36-yard line to set up Tom Brady and company. James White ran for four yards to start the drive, and an incompletion from Brady brought up a third down. The Patriots tried to set up a screen, but Brady just had to throw it into the ground, and it was a three-and-out for the Minnesota defense! Ryan Allen came in to punt, and the ball went out of bounds at the 17-yard line.
The drive got started with a short pass from Kirk Cousins to Dalvin Cook, and on second down Cook ran for another short gain to make it 3rd-and-5. Cousins went for a long ball to Adam Thielen, but led him just a little too far and Thielen was unable to make what would have been a great catch. That was a three-and-out, and on came Matt Wile to punt the ball away. Julian Edelman got a nice return, but the Patriots were called for holding and the ball was placed back at the New England 24-yard line.
White was called for a false start on the Patriots’ first offensive play to make it 1st-and-15. Brady then calmly dropped back and found Patterson for a big gain to near the midfield stripe to move the chains. Sony Michel then pushed into Minnesota territory at the 45, and a pass to James Develin picked up another Patriots’ first down. White ran on first down again, and a second down run by White was negated by a holding penalty on Rob Gronkowski to make it 2nd-and-15. Brady found White for a short gain to bring up third down, and a handoff to White was stopped a yard short of the line to gain to bring up 4th-and-1. New England elected to go for it, and despite Mackensie Alexander’s best efforts, a short pass to Chris Hogan got just enough for the first down.
The Patriots were then called for another hold to make it 1st-and-20, and a run by White was stopped for no gain. A short screen brought up a 3rd-and-15 for the Patriots, and Brady attempted to find Gronkowski, but Mackensie Alexander got his hands on the ball to break it up. Gostkowski came on to attempt a 48-yard field goal, and he pushed it wide to the right to keep the score at 10-7!
The Vikings started at their own 38-yard line after the missed field goal, and a nice run by Dalvin Cook that would have put the ball at midfield was negated by yet another holding penalty on Tom Compton. Cousins found Aldrick Robinson for a short pass that got the penalty yardage back, and a second straight throw to Robinson brought up a 3rd-and-2. Robinson got his number called again, and he moved the sticks with a catch to midfield. After an incompletion from Cousins, he found Diggs for a five-yard gain to bring up another third down. Cousins then found Kyle Rudolph for a first down at the sticks. Bill Belichick challenged the call, as Rudolph fumbled the ball after he went out of bounds but appeared to complete the catch in bounds. The call stood, and the Vikings kept possession of the ball in New England territory at the 40.
Cook then took a handoff and burst for a run of 18 to put the Vikings at the edge of the red zone. Cousins went for Thielen in the end zone, but overthrew the pass, and then found Latavius Murray for a short gain to make it 3rd-and-8. Cousins then went for Robinson in the end zone, but missed that connection as well, and on came Dan Bailey again for a 39-yard field goal attempt. Bailey connected, and the Vikings got things back to even at 10-10.
Bailey’s kickoff went through the end zone for a touchback, giving the Patriots the football at their own 25-yard line. Brady found Josh Gordon for his first catch of the day, and he turned it into a 24-yard gain to near midfield after Marcus Sherels missed a tackle on Gordon. Brady then found Gronkowski for a 15-yard gain into Minnesota territory, and a run by James White moved the chains once again. Brady then found a wide-open Gordon, and he rolled into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown. Just like that, after the Gostkowski extra point, the Vikings were down again by a score of 17-10.
The kickoff from Gostkowski went through the end zone for a touchback, giving the Vikings the ball at the 25. Cousins tried to dial up a deep shot on first down, but it fell incomplete. Latavius Murray then took a handoff around the left side, and as we move to the fourth quarter of play, the Vikings are looking at a 3rd-and-5 from their own 30-yard line.
Fifteen minutes left from Gillette Stadium, folks, and the Minnesota Vikings trail the New England Patriots by a score of 17-10. Do the Vikings have a comeback in them in this one, folks?