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EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — After Greg Joseph’s game-winning subject purpose went by way of the uprights on Sunday, euphoria overcame the Minnesota Vikings.

Teammates lifted Joseph on their shoulders as they celebrated the 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions.

An hour or so earlier, nobody would have anticipated Minnesota to want a last-second subject purpose to win. The Vikings knew they averted a probably devastating loss.

“It’s better than a loss, that’s for sure,” coach Mike Zimmer admitted after the sport. “But yeah, it probably feels different, yeah.”

Minnesota scored on its first three possessions and held a 13-3 lead at dwelling towards the winless Lions. Against a Detroit protection that was thirty first within the NFL getting into the sport in permitting 6.63 yards per play, the Vikings offense then went stagnant.

After Alexander Mattison’s late fumble, the Lions took their first lead of the sport with 37 seconds left. Forced to open up the offense once more, Minnesota went 46 yards in 5 performs to arrange Joseph’s game-winning kick.

“We scored on our first three possessions this game and that’s offense,” heart Garrett Bradbury mentioned Monday. “You’d like them to be touchdowns instead of two field goals but, nonetheless, it’s a great start in the first half. We got to find a way to make plays third quarter, fourth quarter and get points. Defense did an unbelievable job and we can help them out a lot more by putting points on the board.”

Sunday continued a development for the Vikings’ offense and protection. The offense has gone lacking within the second half of video games, whereas the protection finds its footing within the second half.

The offense hasn’t scored a second-half landing since Week 1. In the previous three video games, all at dwelling, the Vikings have scored 15 factors within the second half.

“No matter how the game looks in the second half, we understand that we have the guys to go out there and make plays,” Mattison mentioned. “We just have to clean it up.”

Conversely, the crew’s protection has maintained video games whereas the offense has struggled. In these previous three dwelling video games, the Vikings have solely allowed 14 factors within the second half of video games. Eight of the factors got here Sunday after Mattison’s fumble, which gave Detroit the ball on the 20-yard line, its deepest subject place of the sport.

Minnesota’s protection is the league chief on third downs within the second half of video games, permitting conversions on two of 26 alternatives (7.7%), in keeping with Sportradar. The 34 factors allowed within the second half is the second-fewest allowed behind solely Denver (28), in keeping with Sportradar.

WHAT’S WORKING

When Minnesota is pushing the offense down the sector, quarterback Kirk Cousins and receiver Justin Jefferson have been in sync. Jefferson is constructing on his Pro Bowl rookie season with 33 catches for 462 yards by way of 5 video games. He’s sixth within the league in catches and receiving yards.

Jefferson had 5 catches for 104 yards within the first half towards Detroit, however solely two for 20 within the second half as he was solely focused two extra instances.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The Vikings have been in search of dependable returners ever since shifting away from Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels. The search continues.

Kickoff returner Ameer Abdullah had 4 returns on Sunday for a mean of 17.0 yards.

He’s forty second within the NFL with an 18.8-yard common return this season. Punt returner Dede Westbrook had one return for two yards on Sunday and is thirty fifth within the league with a 5.0-yard common this season.

STOCK UP

Joseph got here up quick on a 49-yard field-goal try, however he was clutch from 54 yards when the Vikings most wanted him. Since a shaky Week 2 loss at Arizona the place Joseph missed an extra-point try and a last-second, field-goal try, he’s 7 of 8 on subject objectives, together with a career-long 55 yards on Sunday, and 5 of 5 on extra-point makes an attempt.

STOCK DOWN

When tight finish Irv Smith Jr. was misplaced for the season with a knee damage earlier than the season, Minnesota traded for Chris Herndon from the New York Jets.

The Vikings despatched a fourth-round draft choose in 2022 for Herndon and a 2022 sixth-round choose.

Herndon doesn’t have a catch this season and had two expensive penalties on Sunday that negated first downs. He was known as for an unlawful crack-back block on Mattison’s 9-yard run on third-and-1 within the third quarter and Minnesota needed to punt.

INJURED

Linebacker Anthony Barr returned Sunday for his first recreation since Week 2 of final season. He recovered from a knee damage in coaching camp after having final season minimize quick due to a torn pectoral muscle. He ended up enjoying 100% of the defensive snaps.

“There were multiple plays when I felt like I was never going to be able to walk again,” Barr mentioned. “Your body feels like it explodes and then you get up like, ‘OK, I’m good.’”

Dalvin Cook missed his second recreation this season with a lingering ankle damage.

KNEXT STEPS

After all the things that’s occurred this season, the Vikings may get again to .500 earlier than their Week 7 bye. They journey to face Carolina on Sunday.

The Panthers have misplaced two in a row, however may get again offensive star Christian McCaffrey for Sunday’s recreation.




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