Vikings hold off Patriots, take commanding lead in NFC North

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

Both 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

Fresh off one of many worst house losses in workforce historical past, the Viking did precisely what they wished to do Thursday evening: Move 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 may very well 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 successful report in their previous three video games. If somebody instructed you the Vikings would beat the Patriots and the Buffalo Bills in a three-week span, what would you say about them? An affordable argument may very well be made that, sure, they’re among the many prime 5 groups in the NFL.

Just as necessary, a Cowboys sport that receiver Justin Jefferson known as “embarrassing” and “a catastrophe throughout” could be higher seen as an aberration slightly than a deep look into the Vikings’ future.

The Vikings will now have 10 days to arrange for his or her subsequent sport, 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 occasions in this sport, misplaced it twice and, total, have been tied with the Patriots 5 completely different occasions. Games like that not often occur in the NFL. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was solely the second time in seven seasons when the rating has been tied individually on at the very least 5 completely different occasions.

QB breakdown: Kirk Cousins ​​threw a foul interception in the primary quarter, a throw off his again foot that sailed far previous receiver KJ Osborn, however he averted some other massive errors throughout this prime-time sport. 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 importantly, he expertly drove the Vikings to their successful landing by throwing an ideal 36-yard go move 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 in 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 necessary emotional swing that allowed the Vikings to keep away from a possible avalanche. The Patriots have 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.

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

Ballgame.

Of course, 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” in the crimson zone, however that did not come to fruition towards the Vikings.

An in depth name in 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 facet to the workforce’s lack of crimson zone manufacturing.

Biggest gap in the sport plan: It’s just like what occurs to most groups that play the Vikings — protecting 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. A terrific setting at US Bank Stadium and two groups that went toe-to-toe.

QB breakdown: Jones performed his finest sport 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 of 15-plus yards.

Promising development: The short-handed offensive line — with left deal with Trent Brown, left guard Cole Strange, heart James Ferentz, proper guard Mike Onwenu and proper deal with Yodny Cajuste — offered Jones with one of the best move safety he is had all season. As a end result, Jones seemed like a distinct quarterback.

Under-the-radar stat that issues: The Patriots allowed 5 first downs through penalties, tied for his or her most in a sport in the previous three seasons. It is their most since Week 11 of 2019 at Philadelphia (additionally 5).

Next sport: vs. Bills (8:15 p.m. ET, Thursday)

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