The Minnesota Vikings were missing a bunch of important players heading into their Week 9 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, and they lost a couple more over the course of the afternoon. In the end, they overcame it on a gutsy drive and pushed their winning streak to four games.
Joshua Dobbs, in for the concussed Jaren Hall, found Brandon Powell for a 7-yard touchdown with just 22 seconds remaining to give the Vikings a 31-28 lead over the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Atlanta got on the board first in this one, getting a 52-yard field goal from Younghoe Koo to take a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter of play. The Vikings then tied things up after a 19-yard field goal by Greg Joseph to make it 3-3 near the end of the quarter.
Prior to the field goal, rookie quarterback Jaren Hall was taken down by a huge hit and shortly thereafter ruled out of the game with a concussion, meaning that the Vikings had to turn things over to Joshua Dobbs, who they just acquired in a deal with the Arizona Cardinals earlier in the week. It didn’t take long for the Falcons to take advantage of the new guy, as he was taken down in the end zone by Calais Campbell for a safety early in the second quarter to give the Falcons a rare 5-3 lead.
Atlanta turned the ensuing possession into another Koo field goal, this one a 43-yarder to make it 8-3. After a fumble by Dobbs was recovered by the Falcons and taken down to the Minnesota 2-yard line, Atlanta’s offense stalled and they had to settle for another field goal from Koo, a 23-yarder to push the score to 11-3.
The Vikings then lost receiver K.J. Osborn after a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jeff Okudah that saw Osborn get carted off the field, although Osborn did get on the cart under his own power. The drive ended with the Vikings’ first touchdown of the day, as Dobbs found Alexander Mattison on a 2-yard touchdown pass to make it 11-10 after Greg Joseph’s extra point.
The Vikings couldn’t keep the momentum going to start the second half, as Dobbs turned the ball over again. This time he was hit as he threw with the ball going to Falcons’ defensive lineman Kentavius Street for a turnover. But, once again, the Vikings’ defense stood up and limited the Falcons to another Koo field goal to make it 14-10 in favor of the home team.
Minnesota responded with a nice drive, but had to settle for a 32-yard field goal from Joseph to once again make it a 1-point game at 14-13. Then, the Falcons executed their longest play of the 2023 season, as Taylor Heinicke hit Jonnu Smith on a quick screen, and the big tight end took it 60 yards for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 21-13 lead with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter.
After a Vikings’ punt, the Vikings’ defense forced a big turnover, as Akayleb Evans forced a fumble from Bijan Robinson that was recovered by Josh Metellus for a huge play. The Vikings’ offense then cashed in on the turnover, with Dobbs turning a scramble drill into a 23-yard touchdown run to make it 21-19. Dobbs then found Trishton Jackson for the two-point conversion to tie things up at 21-21 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
The Vikings then generated a second straight turnover on defense as Heinicke’s pass was intercepted by Byron Murphy, who returned the pick to the Atlanta 24-yard line.
Minnesota turned that into their first lead of the day on a 31-yard field goal by Joseph to make the score 24-21 early in the fourth quarter. Then, the Falcons put together a long drive that saw them just hammer the Vikings in the run game, ending with a 5-yard touchdown run to give Atlanta the lead back at 28-24 just ahead of the two-minute warning.
The Vikings needed a drive from Josh Dobbs, and he gave them one. He found Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson for big plays, and converted a big 4th-and-7 with a 22-yard scramble to keep the drive alive.
A few plays later, Dobbs found Brandon Powell in the end zone for a touchdown, and Greg Joseph’s extra point made it 31-28 with just 22 seconds remaining.
Joshua Dobbs landed in Minnesota early Wednesday morning.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 5, 2023
On Sunday, he comes off the bench and is on the verge of pulling off a miracle in Atlanta.
The Falcons got a last-gasp drive, but they couldn't get into position for a field goal and time expired with the Vikings on top for their fourth straight win.
Minnesota runs their record to 5-4. . .4-0 without Justin Jefferson in the lineup. . .and will host the New Orleans Saints next week at U.S. Bank Stadium with Jefferson (perhaps) back in the lineup.
The Minnesota Vikings win a wild one in Atlanta, taking down the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 31-28. Thank you to everyone who got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!