Vikings Win a Thanksgiving Shootout, 33-26
Just four days after one of the more embarrassing home losses in franchise history, the Minnesota Vikings bounced back on Thanksgiving night to deliver an electric offensive performance. The Vikings won a Thanksgiving shootout against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots by a score of 33-26.
From the get-go, this team felt motivated to come out and put together big numbers on offense as they got back to their usual tricks of putting together a touchdown drive on their opening possession. The Vikings strung together a 10-play, 65-yard TD drive to open the game in which Justin Jefferson caught three passes for 24 yards and the touchdown.
Jefferson came into the game needing just 55 yards to surpass Randy Moss for the NFL record for most receiving yards through a player’s first three seasons. Jefferson did far more than that to break the record, putting up nine catches for 139 yards and that opening touchdown.
After another terrific game in which the 23-year-old receiver surpassed 100 receiving yards for the seventh time this season, there is no one who can say they had more receiving yards in their first three NFL seasons than Justin Jefferson.
The Vikings likely don’t win this game without each and every one of those yards as Jefferson made big play after big play throughout the evening. This included a 36-yard connection late in the fourth quarter between Cousins and Jefferson through a double coverage that should have given any normal person whiplash.
A play later, the Vikings baited Devin McCourty into doubling Jefferson, and Cousins hit an open Adam Thielen for what would be the game winning touchdown.
Overall, this was a great step forward for the Vikings in many facets. Their run defense held strong against New England’s attack, and aside from another missed XP from Greg Joseph, the special teams played extraordinary football too. Kene Nwangwu returned his third career kickoff for a touchdown, and the punt coverage teams did not allow Sidney Jones any room to operate a week after his game-winning punt return TD.
On the other side, Mac Jones played a very strong game as well. The Patriots QB completed 28-of-39 passes for 382 yards and a pair of TDs. If a pass to Hunter Henry on the goal line hadn’t been reviewed and ruled incomplete, this game could have turned out differently.
At any rate, the Minnesota Vikings improve to 9-2 on the year while the Patriots fall to 6-5. The Vikings get a mini bye week prior to Week 13 when they host the New York Jets (6-4) on Sunday, December 4th. Meanwhile, the Patriots host the Buffalo Bills (8-3) on Thursday Night Football, so they only get a typical week’s amount of rest.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.