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Minnesota Vikings 42, Detroit Lions 30: Offense weathers loss of Thielen for big win

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We’ll have to keep an eye on the Vikings’ star receiver

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

On Sunday afternoon at Ford Field, Adam Thielen had just one reception for the Minnesota Vikings, and they still managed to defeat their division rivals, the Detroit Lions, by two scores.

That’s pretty good.

Behind four more touchdown passes from Kirk Cousins and another big day from Dalvin Cook, the Vikings overcame a lackluster defensive performance to get their first divisional victory of the year over the Lions by a score of 42-30.

The Lions got on the board first after the teams exchanged punts on their opening possessions. Matthew Stafford connected with Marvin Jones on a 16-yard score that saw Jones get through a Trae Waynes tackle and get to the end zone. Matt Prater hit the extra point, and the Lions were ahead 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

Minnesota quickly answered back, as Kirk Cousins hit Adam Thielen on a brilliant 25-yard touchdown strike on the following drive to make the score 7-7.

Detroit wasted no time in taking the lead back, as they got a 3-yard touchdown pass from the same combo, as Stafford found Jones again to give the home team back the lead at 14-7.

The Vikings answered on their next drive, but not without some controversy. A pass from Cousins to Olabisi Johnson was flagged for pass interference, and there was a lengthy review as it appeared the Lions intercepted the ball on a deflection. After review, the pass interference call stood, and the Vikings kept the ball at the Detroit 1-yard line. Cousins and Johnson then connected on the rookie’s first career touchdown, and the score was tied again at 14-14.

The Vikings then took the lead on their next possession, finishing off an impressive 15-play, 97-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown run from Dalvin Cook to make the score 21-14 after Bailey’s extra point split the uprights.

The Lions tied things up just before the half, courtesy of a third connection between Matthew Stafford and Marvin Jones. This one was a 10-yarder, and it sent the game into the locker room at halftime tied at 21-21.

To open the third quarter, Minnesota took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards, ending with another player scoring their first NFL touchdown. This time it was fullback C.J. Ham, who caught a five-yard pass to give the Vikings the lead back at 28-21.

Detroit cut into the lead near the end of the third quarter, as Matt Prater connected on a 46-yard field goal attempt to make the score 28-24 with a little more than three minutes remaining in the quarter.

The Vikings had an opportunity to extend the lead back to seven, but Dan Bailey missed a 45-yard attempt wide left early in the fourth quarter to keep the score at 28-24. After turning the Lions over on downs after the missed field goal, the Vikings marched to the end zone again, this time getting a 15-yard pass from Cousins to Kyle Rudolph to extend the lead to 35-24.

The Stafford-to-Jones connection struck again late in the fourth quarter, as they got together for the fourth time on the afternoon, this one from two yards out. The Lions went for the two-point conversion and were unsuccessful, making the score 35-30 with just over three minutes remaining.

The Vikings could have played it conservative at that point, but Kevin Stefanski had other ideas.

That set up Dalvin Cook’s second touchdown of the afternoon, as he took it in from four yards out just after the two-minute warning. That made it 42-30 with just under two minutes remaining.

The Lions tried to get some points on the board at the end of the game, but Stafford’s desperation heave at the end was intercepted by Trae Waynes to ice the game for the Vikings.

For the third week in a row, Kirk Cousins may have played his best game of the season. He completed 24-of-34 passes for 337 yards and four more touchdown passes. Stefon Diggs was the big yardage recipient of the big day, as he caught seven passes for 142 yards. Cousins’ four touchdown passes went to four different receivers. . .Adam Thielen (his only catch of the day), Olabisi Johnson, C.J. Ham, and Kyle Rudolph.

As for Dalvin Cook, just another ho-hum day for one of the best running backs in the NFL. He carried the ball 25 times for 142 yards and a pair of scores on the afternoon.

The Vikings move their record to 5-2, and they’ll have a short turnaround as they host the Washington Redskins on Thursday Night Football at U.S. Bank Stadium this week. The Lions fall to 2-3-1, and they will host the New York Giants next Sunday.

The Minnesota Vikings win their third consecutive game, besting the Detroit Lions at Ford Field by a final score of 42-30. Thank you to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!