US BANK STADIUM, MN – The Minnesota Vikings may not have everything together right now, but after a dominant defensive showing today, they have to feel better going into their bye week.
Minnesota’s defense set a new franchise record with 10 sacks of Matthew Stafford and also turned a takeaway into six points as the Vikings dominated the Detroit Lions, 24-9.
Danielle Hunter led the way with a career-high 3.5 sacks and also chipped in the 32-yard fumble return for a touchdown that ultimately sealed the game.
The Vikings also shut down what had been a resurgent Lions’ rushing attack, holding them to just 66 yards. Overall, the Lions had just 209 yards of total offense on the day. If there had been any questions about the Vikings’ defense returning to form, the past two weeks alone have likely answered many of those questions.
On the offensive side, things weren’t as great but good enough on this day. Kirk Cousins had his quietest game of the season, going 18 of 22 for just 164 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a fumble.
Adam Thielen‘s 100-yard games streak was snapped as he was held to just 22 yards on four catches but did have a touchdown catch. Laquon Treadwell led the way with 37 yards on just two catches.
Minnesota’s rushing attack was able to take advantage of Detroit’s bottom-ranked rush defense, running for 128 yards, including a 70-yard gash by the returning Dalvin Cook. He had 109 total yards (89 rushing, 20 receiving) on 14 touches.
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The Vikings head into the bye week at 5-3-1 and having won four of their last five games.
- Danielle Hunter has arguably been Minnesota’s most consistent defender all year, justifying the team’s faith in him when they offered him the contract extension he signed in the offseason. Today, he may have just put his name in the discussion for Defensive Player of the Year. He’ll most likely be the Defensive Player of the Week when Week Nine is over with.
- Dalvin Cook’s return provided the home run threat in the run game the Vikings have sorely missed for the past month and a half. The 70-yard run in the second quarter shifted the momentum of the game back in the Vikings’ favor after they had turned the ball over on Cousins’ interception the previous drive. The Vikings would top the Lions field goal with a touchdown a few plays later.
- The offensive line actually looked respectable in this one, maybe their best game of the season. Riley Reiff returned to the lineup in this one, moving Rashod Hill to the bench and establishing rookie tackle Brian O’Neill as the starter on the right side going forward. It may have been against a Detroit defensive front that ranks near the bottom of the league, but this offensive front had barely slowed down anyone much of the season. They may have something with this lineup, but we’ll have to see more to establish anything.
- Kirk Cousins is very fortunate that his defense was rolling in this game. That interception could’ve been the type of momentum-changing play that turned the tide against his team. He also bypassed opportunities for better (safer) plays that could’ve put this game away much sooner. He’s got to do a better job of utilizing his other receivers going forward. Otherwise, not many more negatives to discuss here.