Vikings maintain off Patriots, take commanding lead in NFC North

MINNEAPOLIS — In a sport filled with 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 exciting kickoff return landing by the Vikings in response to a Patriots rating to start out 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 residence losses in staff historical past, the Viking did precisely what they wished to do Thursday evening: Transfer on from it.

Their victory over the Patriots made it so much 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 high groups.

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

Simply as vital, a Cowboys sport that receiver Justin Jefferson known as “embarrassing” and “a disaster all around” will be higher considered as an aberration fairly than a deep look into the Vikings’ future.

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

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

QB breakdown: Kirk Cousins threw a nasty interception within the first quarter, a throw off his again foot that sailed far previous receiver Okay.J. Osborn, however he averted some other huge errors throughout this prime-time sport. He completed with 30 completions, probably 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 vital 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.

Subsequent 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.

After all, 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 attempting to “flip the switch” within the crimson zone, however that did not come to fruition towards the Vikings.

An in depth 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 staff’s lack of crimson zone manufacturing.

Greatest gap within the sport plan: It is just like what occurs to most groups that play the Vikings — masking 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 awesome atmosphere at U.S. Financial institution Stadium and two groups that went toe-to-toe.

QB breakdown: Jones performed his finest sport of the season — notably 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 sort out Trent Brown, left guard Cole Unusual, middle James Ferentz, proper guard Mike Onwenu and proper sort out Yodny Cajuste — offered Jones with the very best cross safety he is had all season. Because of this, Jones appeared like a special quarterback.

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

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