On Brand Vikings Win Christmas Eve Nailbiter
Well, at least it was an on brand Vikings performance. It wasn’t always easy out there, but Minnesota emerged victorious by a score of 27-24. Doing so guarantees they’ll continue to reside in the NFC’s #2 seed for at least another week.
Kevin O’Connell’s squad was able to push their win total to 12, an impressive number no matter how one gets there. Nevertheless, Minnesota fans far and wide likely would have welcomed a touch less stress in their day. After all, it’s Christmas Eve.
Let’s break down how it happened.
An On Brand Vikings Day
The game had it’s ups and downs for the Vikings.
After going up 10-0, the potential was there for the Vikings to finally win a game by a comfortable margin. Unfortunately, the defense’s adjustments – namely, the blitzing and increase in man coverage – couldn’t coalesce to stifle Daniel Jones and the Giants.
While Minnesota was able to get pressure on several occasions, Jones looked poised throughout the day. The first-round QB displayed good mobility on various occasions, and he found several open men on in-breaking routes. Jones’ ability to extend plays also helped him as a passer:
Heading into the 4th quarter, New York was clinging to a narrow 13-10 lead. Minnesota possessed the ball, though, giving them a chance to quickly tie or, better yet, take the lead. They did so behind a great T.J. Hockenson catch:
As we all know, things are seldom easy for the purple and gold. The on brand Vikings decided it’d be better to infuse our holidays with more unease and tension. Indeed, I imagine very few Vikings fans were casually sipping hot chocolate by the fire. Instead, they were likely pacing the room, desperately hoping O’Connell’s squad would yet again emerge victorious in a close game.
The Giants and Vikings participated in a back and forth 4th quarter, resulting in 24-24 score as the clock was marching toward 0:00.
Kirk Cousins led yet another game-winning drive. It was his eighth of the season, a remarkable accomplishment that underscores how he has stepped up in critical moments.
This time, he had to rely on Greg Joseph to kick a 61-yard field goal to win the game:
Perhaps we should all be buying Mr. Joseph another gift or two this Christmas. He certainly made my holiday a little more merry. He didn’t miss a kick all day.
By the end of the day, the Giants had piled up 445 yards. Daniel Jones was 30/42 for 334 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. For the most part, things were far too easy for him. Donatell’s defense had an opportunity to take another step forward, but it was a discouraging performance.
On a more positive note, Justin Jefferson had a sensational game (a phrase you’ve read a time or two). He surpassed Randy Moss for the most receiving yards in a single Vikings season. Later in the game, he surpassed Cris Carter for most receptions in a single Vikings season. Jefferson, it turns out, isn’t too bad at playing football.
Jefferson finished the day with 12 receptions, 133 yards, and a TD.
Minnesota’s next game will be against the Green Bay Packers and it’ll take place at Lambeau Field. On Sunday, January 1st at 3:25, the Vikings will look to improve their NFC North record to 4-1.
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