The Minnesota Vikings had never hosted a game on Thanksgiving Day prior to tonight’s matchup with the New England Patriots. They gave us a contest that we’re probably going to remember for a while.
The Vikings overcame a sluggish start and got three touchdown passes from Kirk Cousins and a big kickoff return for a touchdown from Kene Nwangwu to defeat the Patriots, 33-26, at US Bank Stadium on Thursday night.
Minnesota drew first blood, taking the opening kickoff and marching 80 yards for a touchdown, with the score coming on a 6-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson to put the Vikings ahead 7-0 less than five minutes into the game.
The Vikings’ lead was short-lived, as a little more than two minutes of game time later the Patriots were in the end zone, courtesy of a 34-yard touchdown pass from Mac Jones to Nelson Agholor. That evened things up at 7-7 and we weren’t even halfway through the first quarter of play.
After the two teams exchanged punts, Kirk Cousins overthrew KJ Osborn and was intercepted by Jonathan Jones, who took the ball all the way down to the Minnesota 17-yard line. The Vikings’ defense limited the damage, however, limiting the Patriots to a 34-yard field goal by Nick Folk to make the score 10-7 with about a minute and a half left in the first quarter.
Minnesota tied things up midway through the second quarter on a 30-yard field goal from Greg Joseph to make it 10-10. On the ensuing drive, Folk connected on his second field goal of the night, a 46-yarder to give the visitors the lead back at 13-10.
The Vikings then went down the field and took the lead back, finishing the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to TJ Hockenson, his first in purple. That put the Vikings ahead by three and not four because Greg Joseph missed another extra point to keep the score at 16-13 with a minute and a half left in the first half.
The Patriots got a field goal just before halftime to tie things at 16-16, and then took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched down the field, getting into the end zone on a 37-yard pass from Jones to Hunter Henry to take the lead back at 23-16 just four minutes into the third quarter.
New England’s lead was short-lived, as Kene Nwangwu took the ensuing kickoff and blasted 97 yards for a touchdown, the third kickoff return for a score in his Vikings’ career. Greg Joseph connected on the extra point and, just like that, things were tied at 11-11pm.
The Patriots took the lead back midway through the third quarter, as they got a 25-yard field goal from Folk to make it 26-23. It looked like they had gotten another touchdown pass from Jones to Henry, but after originally ruling the play a touchdown the officials reviewed it and said it was incomplete, forcing the field goal attempt.
The Vikings looked to be in a position to take the lead again, but after getting inside the New England 10 a sack of Cousins pushed the Vikings’ offense back and forced them to settle for a 36-yard field goal from Joseph to tie things at 26-26 a minute into the fourth quarter.
After the Vikings’ defense got a stop. . .yes, they’re allowed to do that. . .the Vikings went down and took the lead back on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen. The drive was extended after the Patriots were called for running into Ryan Wright on a punt, and the touchdown itself was set up by another big play from Cousins to Jefferson. Greg Joseph’s extra point made it 33-26 with just under ten minutes remaining.
That proved to be the margin of victory, as the Vikings thwarted the Patriots’ last-minute drive and secured the victory on Thursday Night Football!
That pushes Minnesota’s record to 9-2, and they’ll get a bit of a mini-bye before hosting the New York Jets at US Bank Stadium a week from Sunday. New England falls to 6-5 and will have a normal week as they’ll do the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football next week.
The Minnesota Vikings get back on the winning track, defeating the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football by a final score of 33-26. Thank you to everybody that got their coverage of tonight’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!