MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota's long-dominant defence had been slipping for the past several weeks, a proud and seasoned group that needed to get its edge back.
The Vikings gave hardly any ground against the sputtering Detroit Lions.
Danielle Hunter had three of Minnesota's five sacks to spearhead a resurgence by the defence, and the Vikings sailed past Detroit 20-7 yesterday to stick the Lions with their sixth straight loss.
“It's important we get a chip back on our shoulder, and I thought we kind of did that," coach Mike Zimmer said, adding: "We need to keep doing that. That's why I wish we wouldn't have let them score.”
David Blough's touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay with 2:09 left spoiled Minnesota's bid for its first shutout in two years.
“I can't say enough good things about our defence. That really created the tenor for the game for us. We didn't feel that much pressure on offence to have to keep scoring,” said Kirk Cousins, who passed for 242 yards and a touchdown.
Dalvin Cook had 75 yards from scrimmage and a rushing score on 20 touches over three quarters, as the Vikings (9-4) stayed on track for the playoffs and took it easy on their star tailback after an injury to his collarbone area forced him out of the previous game. The defence did not let up on Blough, though.
With Matthew Stafford sidelined by hip and back injuries for the fifth straight game, the rookie quarterback's first NFL road start was a rough one. Blough went 24 for 40 for 205 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the second half, and the Vikings allowed their lowest score in 31 regular-season games since a 16-0 win at Green Bay on Dec. 23, 2017.
The Lions entered the week averaging 5.8 yards per play, the fourth-best in the NFL, but the Vikings held them to 3.2. Six days earlier, they gave up a season-high 37 points in defeat at Seattle.
For the first time this season, the Lions (3-9-1) never held a lead.
They entered the game with 92 first-quarter points, the most in the NFC, but they netted only 70 total yards on 32 plays in the first half and trailed 20-0 until Golladay's catch pushed the third-year wide receiver past the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season.
In other NFL action yesterday, Atlanta doubled Carolina 40-20; Baltimore downed Buffalo 24-17; Cleveland topped Cincinnati 27-19; Green Bay edged Washington 20-15; Denver bucked Houston 38-24; San Francisco outlasted New Orleans 48-46; the N.Y. Jets shaded Miami 22-21; Tampa Bay eked by Indianapolis 38-35; the L.A. Chargers routed Jacksonville 45-10; Pittsburgh dumped Arizona 23-17; Kansas City upended New England 23-16; Tennessee pounded Oakland 42-21; and the L.A. Rams beat Seattle 28-12.