MINNEAPOLIS - It wasn’t the prettiest game you’ll ever see, but what matters is the Minnesota Vikings are 2-1 after rallying for a 28-24 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings rallied from a pair of double-digit deficits, 14-0 early and 24-14 in the fourth quarter, and got some help from Lions’ coach Dan Campbell. They face the duality of feeling very good about beating a second divisional opponent at home, while also knowing they can play much better and make life easier on themselves.
Here are takeaway’s from Sunday’s win.
KEVIN O’CONNELL’S POST GAME CELEBRATION
Kevin O’Connell gathered the Vikings in the locker room after the game and spoke of his team’s resilience when things didn’t look good late. Then, Kirk Cousins hit KJ Osborn for a game-winning, 28-yard touchdown with 45 seconds to play.
Coming off a clunker on Monday Night Football at Philadelphia, it was imperative for the Vikings to bounce back against the Lions at home, and get to 2-0 in the NFC North. It wasn’t pretty, but they got it done. O’Connell’s two-minute speech to his team grew intense, and featured eight expletives before Osborn broke down the huddle.
It’s the type of fire and intensity you love to see from a young head coach still learning on the job.
"Inevitably you don’t want to be in situations where you have to come back from two separate double-digit deficits in a football game. But to have a divisional opponent in our building and to find a way to win that football game, was proud of the way our team stuck together. A lot of the things we’ve talked about from a culture standpoint show up in those moments," O’Connell said.
DAN CAMPBELL: ‘I COST US THE GAME’
The Lions faced a 4th-and-3 in Vikings’ territory with 1:14 to play, and Campbell made his most puzzling decision of the day. Detroit had gone for it on fourth down six times before that sequence, four of them conversions. Campbell, instead, sent kicker Austin Seibert out for a 54-yard try. If they go for it and convert, the Lions can run out the clock. If they punt, they can pin the Vikings deep with a minute to play and no timeouts.
Campbell tried to make it a 27-21 Lions lead, and Seibert missed wide right. The Vikings got the ball at their own 44-yard line, and it eventually set up Cousins’ game-winner to Osborn.
Campbell regretted not going for it after the game.
"I lost us the game," he told reporters.
INJURY UPDATES ON DALVIN COOK, HARRISON SMITH
On Monday, O’Connell provided injury updates on Dalvin Cook and Harrison Smith. Cook suffered a dislocated shoulder on a play where he fumbled in the third quarter. He left the game and didn’t return. In his absence, Alexander Mattison scored a 6-yard touchdown that was part of the Vikings’ fourth quarter comeback.
O’Connell said Monday Cook is day-to-day, but intends to play against the Saints in London. He’s suffered the injury before and is prepared to play through it.
Smith did not play Sunday after suffering a concussion against the Eagles. He was at Sunday’s game, and congratulated players in the locker room while sporting sunglasses. O’Connell said Smith has cleared concussion protocols, and the expectation is that he’ll be ready to go for London.
DEFENSE MAKES BIG PLAYS AT KEY MOMENTS
The Vikings allowed the Lions to collect 416 yards and Jamaal Williams scored two touchdowns, but their defense made plays when it mattered the most. The defense got two fourth down stops, including one in the fourth quarter by Danielle Hunter. Josh Metellus, playing safety for the injured Smith and making his first start, sealed with win after intercepting Jared Goff on a desperation heave with nine seconds left.
The Lions had chunk plays against the Vikings, but were held to 24 points after scoring 35 points against the Eagles and 36 against the Commanders.
GETTING READY FOR LONDON
For the third straight week, the Vikings’ body clocks will be tested. They had a late afternoon kickoff against the Packers, an extra day to wait around and face the Eagles on Monday Night Football and then hosted the Lions on a short week. Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints will mark their fourth different start time, and third game in a different time zone.
O’Connell says the team’s schedule is planned out from the minute they fly across the pond on Thursday to kickoff. At the end of the day, it’s on the players to rest, get over any jet lag and be ready to play on Sunday.