The Minnesota Vikings played the first of their three NFC North divisional matchups to finish the season at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, playing host to the 3-8-1 Detroit Lions. It looked on paper to be a blowout, but it turned out just to be a regular, ordinary win.
Paced by an outstanding defensive performance that harassed rookie quarterback David Blough all day, the Vikings got everything they needed from their offense to defeat the Lions by a final score of 20-7.
The Vikings got on the board first, courtesy of a nine-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to rookie Olabisi Johnson, with Dan Bailey’s extra point making the score 7-0 early. Johnson’s first NFL touchdown came against the Lions in Week 7, and the nine-yard reception was his second.
That was all of the scoring for the first quarter of play, as the Vikings’ defense put the clamps on rookie quarterback David Blough and the Detroit offense. Midway through the second quarter, the Vikings pushed themselves to a 4th-and-1 at the Detroit 4-yard line, and appeared to get the first down on a Dalvin Cook run, but Garrett Bradbury was whistled for a false start. The Vikings then settled for a 27-yard field goal from Dan Bailey to make the score 10-0.
After a missed field goal from Matt Prater, the Vikings added to their lead before the half. After a huge 44-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Stefon Diggs, Dalvin Cook finished things off with a 3-yard touchdown run, with Bailey’s extra point making the score 17-0 as they went into the locker room.
The third quarter was relatively quiet until the Vikings generated the game’s first turnover, as Harrison Smith intercepted David Blough. Minnesota was able to turn that drive into more points, as Dan Bailey hit a 50-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to push the Minnesota advantage to 20-0.
Despite being down by twenty points in the fourth quarter, the Lions showed a pretty surprising lack of urgency until the clock got down to about five minutes left in the game. Then they went to a no-huddle offense and pushed into Minnesota territory, finally capping the drive with their only points of the day just before the two-minute warning. Blough managed to find Kenny Golladay for a 10-yard score on a 4th-and-5 play to deny the Vikings’ defense a shutout on the afternoon, with Matt Prater’s extra point making the score 20-7.
The Vikings recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the Lions got the ball back and put together a drive into Minnesota territory once again. Their last-ditch attempt to get into the end zone again was thwarted, however, by an interception in the end zone by Andrew Sendejo. The Vikings went into the victory formation and walked out with their ninth win of the season.
Kirk Cousins had an efficient performance, completing 24-of-30 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown. He completed passes to ten different receivers. . .eleven if you count a deflected pass that wound up in the hands of rookie center Garrett Bradbury. Stefon Diggs led the way with six receptions for 92 yards.
The run game didn’t get a whole lot going on the afternoon, as Dalvin Cook picked up 62 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Alexander Mattison had a solid performance in relief, carrying the ball 14 times for 46 yards.
The Vikings move their record to 9-4 on the season, and will play their final road game of the 2019 regular season next Sunday, hitting the road to take on the Los Angeles Chargers. The Lions fall to 3-9-1 on the year, and will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.
Your Minnesota Vikings are inching closer to the postseason, courtesy of a 20-7 victory over the Detroit Lions in Week 14 action at U.S. Bank Stadium. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game here at The Daily Norseman!