Dalvin Cook Puts Team on His Back as Vikings Win
The Minnesota Vikings held off the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night and pulled out a 36-28 victory to avoid another heartbreaking loss.
The Vikings almost blew a 29-point lead and nearly collapsed due to Kirk Cousins’s underwhelming performance in primetime yet again. The defense failed to close out Pittsburgh late and allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Fortunately, Dalvin Cook’s return paid dividends as he put the team on his back and finished with 222 total yards and two scores to help give Minnesota the victory.
“The holes were big all night,” Cook said after the game to ESPN reporter Courtney Cronin. “So You’ve gotta give those guys credit upfront. They’re my guys. They did a great job of blocking for me tonight.”
The Vikings started hot offensively on Thursday night, and the first score of the night came off of a Cousins to Jefferson 14-yard crosser in the back of the end zone to make it 6-0.
Greg Joseph made it a 9-0 game after hitting a 38-yard field goal in the early second quarter. A few minutes later, Dalvin Cook ran for a 29-yard touchdown untouched by the Steelers defense to extend their lead 16-0.
After forcing another Pittsburgh punt, Minnesota regained possession at their own 40-yard line and drove 60 yards to increase their lead 23-0 and topped off by another Dalvin Cook score.
Minnesota headed into halftime with a 23-0 lead, and the team probably discussed if Dalvin Cook should be rested with such a big lead for the remainder of the game.
He ended the first half with 153 rushing yards and two touchdowns, which was a franchise record for most rushing yards in the first half in Minnesota Vikings history.
Cook remained in the game and, as expected, kept his normal workload. Halfway through the third quarter, Greg Joseph hit back-to-back field goals to give Minnesota a comfortable 29-0 lead.
Kirk Cousins had his worst game of the season by far and at one point was 11-25. Minnesota allowed Pittsburgh to outscore them 28-7 to finish the game, and a big reason for that was Cousins’ worst performance on the season.
Cousins ended with two interceptions on the day and his second pick came off of a near pick-six that necessarily wasn’t his fault due to a K.J. Osborn stumble. The Cousins interception let Pittsburgh back into the game.
Cousins redemptively make up for it after connecting with Osborn on a 62-yard deep ball for the touchdown to give Minnesota the 36-20 lead. On the following drive, Pittsburgh scored a touchdown to make it a one-possession game at 36-28.
Minnesota had a one-possession lead and unfortunately had to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh with under 2:30 remaining in the game. The game came down to the wire after Ben Roethlisberger looked absolutely flawless in the fourth quarter and specifically on the final drive.
The Vikings caught a break after second-year receiver Chase Claypool made a rookie mistake and celebrated a first down conversation with 36 seconds remaining while Pittsburgh had no time out and was forced to spike the ball.
A few plays later, receiver Dionte Johnson caught a ball over the middle, and multiple Vikings missed tackles led to him getting out of bounds with three seconds remaining on the clock. Pittsburgh was on Minnesota’s 12-yard line.
Roethlisberger hiked the ball as time expired and threw an absolute dime in the middle of the end zone, and rookie tight end Pat Friermuth dropped the potential game-tying touchdown as time expired due to a Harrison Smith breakup.
Minnesota came out victorious after nearly blowing a 29-point lead and sneaked away with a win against Pittsburgh to improve to 6-7 on the season. Minnesota remains in the playoff hunt as of now and will be traveling to Soldier Field next Monday night to take on the Chicago Bears to get back to .500 on the year.
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