After three straight losses, the Minnesota Vikings finally put away the Detroit Lions.
The 30-23 victory over the Lions was perhaps the Vikings’ most impressive win of the season.
The Vikings overcame shaky officiating to earn 408 yards of total offense. They held Detroit to 289 total yards. For the second straight week, Minnesota dominated the time of possession (34:57 to 25:03) and the offense did not commit a turnover all game.
Quarterback Case Keenum went 21 of 30 (70%) for 282 yards with 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 95.6 and a passer rating of 121.8. His Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade was 85.2, the second-highest mark on the team behind defensive end Everson Griffen (87.1). Keenum completed passes to six different Vikings receivers.
Despite being sacked twice, Keenum showed remarkable pocket awareness and ability to elude pressure. He bravely stood in the pocket to deliver throws downfield while being hit. He added 20 rushing cards on seven carries, including a nine-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Wideout Adam Thielen became the first Vikings wide receiver since Sidney Rice in 2009 to gain over 1,000 yards in a season. Against Detroit Thielen had eight catches for 89 yards. He led the team with 11 targets.
Fellow receiver Stefon Diggs had five catches for 66 yards while tight end Kyle Rudolph had four catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns. On the season, Rudolph now has 45 catches for 429 yards and five touchdowns, while Diggs has 40 catches for 598 yards and five touchdowns.
The Vikings struggled to move the ball consistently on the ground (3.3 yards per carry), but the offense never gave up on the running game. Running back Latavius Murray led the way with 20 carries for 84 yards with a touchdown. Jerick McKinnon contributed 23 yards on 13 carries. Diggs also had one rush for nine yards. When all was said and done the Vikings finished with 136 rushing yards with two touchdowns as a team.
The Vikings defense did not have a great day, but they came through when they needed to as they held off a team notorious for making fourth-quarter comebacks.
Safety Andrew Sendejo was listed as questionable before the game but led the team with seven tackles. Griffen, whose wife had the couple’s third child just hours before the game, led the defense with two sacks as well as three QB hits. Third-year defensive end Danielle Hunter also had a sack, his sixth of the season.
Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes struggled mightily most of the day in coverage. It was a rare outing for Rhodes. However, he made up for it with five tackles, two passes defended and a crucial fourth quarter interception.
The man who gave Rhodes issues was Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. He had a big day, catching six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for Detroit, he was the only player who had notable success against the Vikings stout defense.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford did not look the part of a $100 million quarterback. Although he showed toughness by playing through an injury, he finished the game 20 of 35 (57%) for 250 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He had a QB rating of 51.1 and a passer rating of 86.6. His PFF grade was a dismal 44.4.
The Vikings defense held Detroit to 53 yards rushing. Running back Theo Riddick was the Lions leading rusher, gaining 20 yards on five carries. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit’s leading rusher on the season, had only 14 yards on six carries.
The game should not have been as close as it was. The Vikings were the clearly the better team on the field. As previously mentioned, there were multiple officiating miscues that kept the Lions in the game. Despite the blunders, the Vikings kept their composure and found a way to earn a victory. That’s just another reason why this may be the Vikings most impressive win of the season.
- The Vikings now rank fourth in the NFL in total offense.
- In total defense, the Vikings ranks fifth.
- Issues struck the Vikings kicking unit for the second consecutive game. Kicker Kai Forbath had two kicks blocked, a field goal attempt and an extra point.
- Everson Griffen now has 12 sacks on the season, tying a career high.
- Right tackle Mike Remmers (concussion) was inactive. He was replaced by backup Rashod Hill.
- The Vikings are 6-2 in Thanksgiving games.
Minnesota has seized control of the division. The Vikings now hold a three-game lead on Detroit in the NFC North with five games to play.
Minnesota will travel to Atlanta to face the (6-4) Falcons on Sunday, December 3rd at noon.