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Vikings able to smother Rams


MINNEAPOLIS—Case Keenum sure took it to his old team.

He gave the Minnesota Vikings another reminder of his ability for good measure, with his status as the starting quarterback still not secure.

Latavius Murray rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns, and Adam Thielen turned a short catch into a 65-yard score, as the Vikings smothered the NFL's highest-scoring offence in a 24-7 win over the L.A. Rams yesterday.

Keenum completed 27-of-38 passes for 280 yards and no turnovers against the team that benched him last season for No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff.

He guided the Vikings (8-2) to their sixth-straight victory in a matchup of division leaders.

“I'm not at my best if I'm using a percentage of my mind in worry about other things,” Keenum said.

“So I shut that out and I come out to play.”

For another week, Keenum kept the Teddy Bridgewater talk on the backburner.

“It's going to be hard to yank him out of there right now,” conceded coach Mike Zimmer.

“I still have really high hopes for Teddy, and a lot of things happen throughout the course of the season, so we'll just see how it goes.”

Minnesota's defence started the second half by forcing four-straight punts by the Rams (7-3), whose four-game winning streak in which they scored 144 points was snapped in lopsided fashion.

The Rams entered the week with an NFL-best third-down conversion rate of 46.7 percent.

They were just 3-for-11 yesterday against the Vikings.

“Football is really simple: you line up the man in front of you. You beat him,” said Vikings' defensive end Everson Griffen, who returned from a foot injury but had his eight-game sack streak stopped.

Meanwhile, L.A.'s defence was trampled in the second half for 288 yards, and Keenum went without a sack for the sixth game this season.

Thielen handed him the longest touchdown pass of his career by turning a simple curl route early in the fourth quarter into a game-breaking score after spinning past Rams' cornerback Dominique Hatfield.

Injuries took two of their top three cornerbacks out of the game for the second half.

“We talk about it every single week that you've got to be ready to go because it is a very humbling league,” said Rams' coach Sean McVay.

“And I felt we got humbled today by a very good team.”

Thielen finished with 123 yards on six receptions, giving him 916 yards this season.

The only player in Vikings' history to reach 900 yards receiving by the 10-game mark was Randy Moss, who did it in 2000 and 2003.

Thielen's connection with Keenum has been especially strong, with Keenum continually finding Thielen open down the field even with the pressure on.

“We get the same Case every week: a guy who just prepares and busts his tail and is in there in the quarterback room before everybody else is probably waking up,” Thielen said.

“Just the way he prepares, it's pretty inspiring.”

Vikings' safety Anthony Harris, starting for the injured Andrew Sendejo, single-handedly turned the momentum of the game by stripping the ball from Rams' wide receiver Cooper Kupp at the one-yard line and recovering the fumble with 4:03 left in the second quarter.

The game was tied 7-7 at the time.

Harris led the Vikings with seven tackles and broke up a pass, too.

Elsewhere in the NFL, Baltimore blanked Green Bay 23-0, Detroit topped Chicago 27-24, Jacksonville beat Cleveland 19-7, Houston downed Arizona 31-21, Tampa Bay upended Miami 30-20, and the N.Y. Giants edged Kansas City 12-9 (OT).

New Orleans shaded Washington 34-31 (OT), the L.A. Chargers bombed Buffalo 54-24, Cincinnati nipped Denver 20-17, New England routed Oakland 33-8, and Philadelphia pounded Dallas 37-9.

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