Flashback: Vikings Defeat Patriots in 1997
The 8-2 Minnesota Vikings and the 6-4 New England Patriots are set to face off tonight for some Thanksgiving football at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota is coming off a very rough 40-3 loss at home against the Dallas Cowboys, while New England is coming off a 10-3 home win against the New York Jets and are currently on a three-game winning streak.
The Vikings are 4-9 all-time against the Patriots and have lost their past five meetings against them.
It has been a very good season for Minnesota. Last week, though, was a huge disappointment. Losses do happen, but that was a very bad one. There is good news — they still have seven more games to go. If they return to their winning ways, that 37-point thrashing will not matter much, even though it was an abysmal performance. Sometimes awful losses can help teams later on too.
While these are not the same Patriots that Tom Brady led, they still will not be an easy opponent for the Vikings. Their offense is not very good, but their defense is (16.9 points per game allowed – second best in the league).
The last time Minnesota defeated New England at home came in 1997. Minnesota won 23-18 at the Metrodome.
Brad Johnson went 18/31 for 227 yards and a touchdown. Moe Williams rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also returned a kick 74 yards. Cris Carter caught eight passes for 116 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Duane Clemons recorded two sacks of the team’s three sacks, and Robert Griffith recorded a game-high 11 tackles.
For New England, Drew Bledsoe went 27/42 for 313 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Curtis Martin rushed for 104 yards. Shawn Jefferson caught four passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Terry Glenn caught five passes for 45 yards and a touchdown.
With the victory, Minnesota improved to 7-2 and finished the season at 9-7. They lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs. New England, with the loss, fell to 5-4 and finished the season at 10-6. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round.
This is a very winnable game for Minnesota, and you can say it is a must-win in some ways. If they want the no. 1 seed in the NFC, they need to keep up with the Philadelphia Eagles, who are 9-1 and have the head-to-head tiebreaker over them. Minnesota also has some tough games left on the schedule, and winning after a very bad loss would be very helpful overall.
So far, Vikings fans have plenty to be thankful for. Starting 8-2 was not something many expected, and they have a great shot at getting back in the win column tonight.
Prediction: Vikings win 23-17.
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