MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings are 10-2 after a 27-22 win over the New York Jets in yet another thrilling finish at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings are now a perfect 9-0 this season in games that either have come down to the final play, or been within one possession in the fourth quarter. The Vikings played 14 such games last season, and won just six of them. It led to the dismissals of Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman.
The Vikings’ magic number to clinch the NFC North Division is now just one. They need a win at Detroit on Sunday for their first division title since 2017, and to guarantee at least one home playoff game.
Here are takeaways from their latest crazy win.
BIG DAY FOR CAM BYNUM
With the game on the line on the final play and the Vikings’ defense on the field, it was Cam Bynum who came up with the latest game-changing play. Mike White was trying to hit Corey Davis for a potential game-winning touchdown. Bynum jumped the route and picked it off at the goal line, sealing another win for Minnesota.
He joins Josh Metellus, Cam Dantzler and Patrick Peterson as players to have game-clinching turnovers this season. Bynum also broke up a pass for Davis earlier in the game that led to an interception for Harrison Smith in the first quarter. Bynum, who sported a flag for the Phillipines in the locker room, said he lives for those type of moments.
"That’s what we live for every single week, knowing that this game might come down to us and that’s how we want it," Bynum said. "We want the game to be in our hands. One play to lose a game or win the game, that’s normal football to us."
KIRK COUSINS AND CAR ACCIDENTS?
Before we all panic, everything is fine with Kirk Cousins. He probably woke up Monday a little sore, and the cliché that playing in the NFL is like being in a car accident every week might hold true for Cousins. He was sacked twice Sunday, but took several big hits on throws from an aggressive and physical Jets’ defense.
Cousins certainly didn’t have his best game Sunday, finishing 21-of-35 for 173 yards. He flat out missed some throws, but when the Vikings needed him in the fourth quarter, he hit Justin Jefferson for a 10-yard touchdown. After the game, Cousins said getting his body right for every game is a week-long process.
"I said ‘Hey I’m in a car accident every week and you’ve got to put me back together on Monday.’ On Friday, it’s kind of like getting an oil change, you get put back together and you get ready for the next car accident," Cousins said.
Let’s hope the car accidents stay metaphorical on the football field with
DEFENSE BENDS, BUT DOESN’T BREAK
The numbers don’t look the prettiest for the Vikings’ defense, but what matters is they didn’t break with the game on the line. The Jets had nearly 500 total yards, including 366 from Mike White, but reached the end zone just once in six trips in the red zone. The Jets had to settle for five Greg Zuerlein field goals, so while fans are nervous and on the edge of their seat, the defense is just fine.
So far, they’ve played with fire and haven’t been burned.
RED ZONE, THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY
Sunday’s win largely came down to results in the red zone and on third down. As was just noted, the Jets were just 1-for-6 in the red zone on Sunday. That one took a challenge and overturn on a White sneak into the end zone. The Vikings also held the Jets to just 3-of-16 on third down. The Vikings, meanwhile, were 3-of-3 in the red zone with touchdowns for Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison and Jefferson. They were 9-of-18 on third down.
Kevin O’Connell said Monday the Vikings won’t have defensive back Akayleb Evans against the Lions on Sunday. He suffered his second concussion in a month, and his third this season. Christian Darrisaw is progressing from the concussion protocol, but his status this week remains uncertain.
The Vikings should get Cam Dantzler back from injured reserve this week. He’s been out with an ankle injury.
It’s a "T-shirt and ha" week for the Vikings. Beat the Lions, and they’re celebrating an NFC North title.