Vikings maintain off Patriots, take commanding lead in NFC North

MINNEAPOLIS — In a recreation full of spotlight performs, the Minnesota Vikings held off the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving evening for a 33-26 victory.

Each groups scored early in every half, together with an exhilarating kickoff return landing by the Vikings in response to a Patriots rating to begin the second half.

The Vikings transfer to 9-2 on the season, whereas the Patriots slip to 6-5.


Minnesota Vikings

Recent off one of many worst house losses in workforce historical past, the Viking did precisely what they needed to do Thursday evening: Transfer on from it.

Their victory over the Patriots made it quite a bit simpler to abdomen a 37-point loss they absorbed 4 days earlier from the Dallas Cowboys, one which had known as into query whether or not they could possibly be thought of one of many NFL’s prime groups.

By beating the Patriots, the Vikings recorded their second win over a workforce with a profitable file of their previous three video games. If somebody advised you the Vikings would beat the Patriots and the Buffalo Payments in a three-week span, what would you say about them? An inexpensive argument could possibly be made that, sure, they’re among the many prime 5 groups within the NFL.

Simply as essential, a Cowboys recreation that receiver Justin Jefferson known as “embarrassing” and “a catastrophe throughout” may be higher considered as an aberration reasonably than a deep look into the Vikings’ future.

The Vikings will now have 10 days to organize for his or her subsequent recreation, at house towards the New York Jets, as they shut in on an NFC North title and stay in rivalry for the NFC’s prime seed.

Describe the sport in two phrases: Very shut. The Vikings took the lead three separate instances on this recreation, misplaced it twice and, total, had been tied with the Patriots 5 completely different instances. Video games like that hardly ever occur within the NFL. Based on ESPN Stats & Info, it was solely the second time in seven seasons when the rating has been tied individually on at the least 5 completely different instances.

QB breakdown: Kirk Cousins threw a foul interception within the first quarter, a throw off his again foot that sailed far previous receiver Okay.J. Osborn, however he averted another large errors throughout this prime-time recreation. He completed with 30 completions, essentially the most towards the Patriots this season, on 37 makes an attempt for 299 yards and two scores. Most significantly, he expertly drove the Vikings to their profitable landing by throwing an ideal 36-yard go cross to Jefferson earlier than he discovered Adam Thielen open for a 15-yard rating.

Pivotal play: Returner Kene Nwangwu introduced again a kickoff 97 yards for a landing within the third quarter, his first of the season after returning two for scores as a rookie final season. The return answered a Patriots landing on the earlier play and tied the rating at 23, an essential emotional swing that allowed the Vikings to keep away from a possible avalanche. The Patriots had been one of many few groups to problem Nwangwu this season. He entered the sport with 19 returns all season, as most groups have been kicking deep for touchbacks, however he had 5 towards the Patriots alone.

Subsequent recreation: vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


New England Patriots

The Patriots’ crimson zone struggles on offense got here again to hang-out them Thursday evening towards the Minnesota Vikings.

They had been 0 for 3 contained in the 20-yard line towards the NFL’s last-ranked crimson zone protection. The Vikings had been 3 of 5.

Ballgame.

In fact, there’s extra to it than simply that, however till the Patriots discover solutions to show these conditions into factors, it threatens their hopes to make a push for the postseason. Quarterback Mac Jones had talked about making an attempt to “flip the swap” within the crimson zone, however that did not come to fruition towards the Vikings.

A detailed name within the third quarter that was overturned on replay by referee Alex Kemp — when Jones initially appeared to attach with tight finish Hunter Henry for a landing — was a notable side to the workforce’s lack of crimson zone manufacturing.

Largest gap within the recreation plan: It is much like what occurs to most groups that play the Vikings — overlaying receiver Justin Jefferson. He shredded the Patriots (9 catches, 139 yards, 1 TD) and confirmed why he is one of many NFL’s elite pass-catchers.

Describe the sport in two phrases: Playoff caliber. An excellent setting at U.S. Financial institution Stadium and two groups that went toe-to-toe.

QB breakdown: Jones performed his finest recreation of the season — significantly when attacking down the sphere. He was 5 of 5 for 153 yards and two touchdowns on throws touring 15-plus yards. In his first seven video games this season, he had one complete landing on throws 15-plus yards.

Promising development: The short-handed offensive line — with left deal with Trent Brown, left guard Cole Unusual, heart James Ferentz, proper guard Mike Onwenu and proper deal with Yodny Cajuste — offered Jones with one of the best cross safety he is had all season. In consequence, Jones appeared like a special quarterback.

Underneath-the-radar stat that issues: The Patriots allowed 5 first downs by way of penalties, tied for his or her most in a recreation prior to now three seasons. It’s their most since Week 11 of 2019 at Philadelphia (additionally 5).

Subsequent recreation: vs. Payments (8:15 p.m. ET, Thursday)

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