Vikings Outlast Lions in Season Finale
DETROIT, MI -- The Minnesota Vikings held on in the final minutes against the Detroit Lions to end their season with a win.
With neither team gunning for a spot in the post-season, the game was simply an NFC North face-off with pride on the line. All in all, there were seven lead changes throughout the matchup. The two teams traded punts until the end of the opening quarter. Detroit scored the first touchdown and missed the extra point attempt to lead Minnesota 6-0. The Vikings answered with their first touchdown with a good PAT to take the lead 7-6.
In the second quarter, the teams traded touchdowns again with Detroit moving ahead 13-7 and Minnesota retaking the lead 14-13. The Lions kicked in their first field goal of the day and opened the gap up 16-14. The Vikings responded with a field goal attempt of their own but missed it. As the clock wound down on the first half, Minnesota found the endzone again to take the lead 21-16 entering the break.
The Lions opened the second half with a touchdown drive to take control of the game 23-21, and the Vikings answered right back again to take the lead away 28-23. This time Minnesota would stay ahead. Minnesota scored a field goal to extend their lead to 31-23. Detroit ran in another touchdown but missed the two-point conversion attempt to close the gap to 31-29.
At the start of the fourth, the Vikings worked their way to the goal line and would have gone four and out on a sack, but got a new set of downs thanks to a roughing the passer penalty. Two plays later, Minnesota scored again on a QB sneak to push their lead out to 37-29. Detroit answered with a touchdown that was overturned. The Lions managed to score again anyway but missed the two-point conversion that would have tied the game up. The Vikings held on and won it 37-35.
Kirk Cousins completed 28 of 40 for 405 yards and three touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown for Minnesota. Alexander Mattison had 21 carries for 95 yards, three catches for 50 yards, and two touchdowns. Chad Beebe and Ameer Abdullah each added one more touchdown for the Vikings.
Justin Jefferson closed out his first NFL season by beating the franchise and Super Bowl era league records for rookie receiving yards set by Randy Moss in 1998 and Anquan Boldin in 2003 with a total of 1,400 yards. He is now second all-time behind Bill Groman who had 1,473 yards with the AFL Houston Oilers in 1960.
Matthew Stafford completed 20 of 31 for 293 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception for Detroit. Marvin Jones Jr. scored two touchdowns for the Lions. Adrian Peterson, D’Andre Swift, and Quintez Cephus each found the endzone once.
The Vikings finish the season 7-9. The Lions finish their season 5-11 and await their draft day fate. Both teams will return in the fall.