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Minnesota Vikings in wild card hunt with win over Detroit Lions: RECAP, SCORE, STATS (12/23/18) | NFL Week 16

The Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1), led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, meet the Detroit Lions (5-9), led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, in an NFC North Week 16 NFL football game on Sunday, December 23, 2018 (12/23/18) at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

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The Vikings beat the Lions, 27-9, behind three touchdown passes by Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins.

Here is the AP recap of the game:

DETROIT (AP) — Kirk Cousins threw a 44-yard Hail Mary to Kyle Rudolph as time expired in the first half to put the Minnesota Vikings ahead and they beat the Detroit Lions 27-9 Sunday, moving a step closer to playing in the postseason.

The Vikings could have clinched a spot in the playoffs with a win and losses by Washington and Philadelphia this weekend. The Redskins lost to Tennessee on Saturday, and shortly after Minnesota walked into its locker room at Ford Field, the Eagles beat Houston on a game-ending field goal.

Minnesota (8-6-1) can still earn a spot in the postseason by closing the regular season with a win against NFC North winner Chicago at home, or by having wild-card hopefuls lose in Week 17.

The Vikings overcame an awful start offensively, scoring two touchdowns on Cousins’ passes over the last 1:32 of the second quarter, and relied on their defense all afternoon against Detroit.

Minnesota had almost as many punts (4) as yards (5) before Cousins led an eight-play, 69-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs late in the first half. On the Vikings’ next possession, Cousins took a shotgun snap with 2 seconds left in the second quarter, rolled slightly to his right, stepped up and threw against a three-man rush. Rudolph leaped to catch easily in the end zone without much traffic in front of him.

In the same end zone three years ago, Aaron Rodgers connected with Richard Rodgers on a winning desperation pass to lift the Packers to a win over Detroit to help them make a push to get into the postseason.

Minnesota seems to have a knack for desperation plays. The Vikings beat New Orleans in the playoffs last January on Diggs’ game-ending, 61-yard touchdown reception to advance to the NFC championship game.

Cousins finished 21 of 28 for 253 yards with three touchdowns, matching his career high with 29. Rudolph had a career-high 122 yards receiving, matched a career high with two touchdown receptions, and had a season-high nine receptions. Dalvin Cook ran for 73 yards on 16 carries for the Vikings.

The Lions (5-10) wasted opportunities to have a comfortable cushion in the first half because their offense stalled repeatedly. They had to settle for three field goals and a 9-0 lead.

Detroit has dropped four of five and seven of nine since reaching .500 in late October.

The playing-for-pride Lions got off to a strong start defensively against the playoff-hopeful Vikings, holding them without a first down until there were three-plus minutes left in the first half.

With the ball, though, Detroit could not to take advantage of favorable field position against a stingy defense. The Lions were relegated to Matt Prater kicking one field goal in the first quarter and two in the second.

The Vikings opened the second half with a field goal for a 17-9 lead that looked like it would be enough against a team that failed to score a touchdown against them in two games this season. Minnesota sent a lot of fans out of Ford Field early in the second half when Cousins threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Rudolph to go ahead by 15 points.

Matthew Stafford was 18 of 32 for 116 yards and was replaced with 4:10 left by Matt Cassel, who was welcomed by cheers before the Lions were called for a false start prior to his first snap. Kenny Golladay, one of the only bright spots for Detroit this season, had six receptions for 58 yards.


Vikings: CB Marcus Sherels left with a foot injury in the first quarter and didn’t return. CB Xavier Rhodes (groin) limped off the field in the fourth quarter. FB C.J. Ham (elbow) had an elbow injury.

Lions: TE Luke Willson (concussion), DT A’Shawn Robinson (knee), DeShawn Shead (knee) were hurt during the game.


Vikings: Host Chicago on Sunday.

Lions: Close the season at Green Bay on Sunday.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who: Vikings vs. Lions

What: NFL, Week 16

When: Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018

Where: Ford Field

Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

TV: Fox

Channel finder: Verizon FiosAT&T U-verseComcast XfinitySpectrum/CharterOptimum/AlticeDIRECTVDish

Livestream: Fox Sports Go

ReplayNFL GamePass (Subscription required)

Line: Vikings -5.5 (Over/under: 43.5)

Vikings notes: QB KIRK COUSINS passed for 215 yards with 2 TDs vs. 1 INT for 112.2 rating last week. In 2 career meetings, has completed 48 of 61 (78.7 pct.) with 2 TDs vs. 1 INT for 102.5 rating. Has 3,028 pass yards (302.8 per game) with 19 TDs vs. 6 INTs for 106.1 rating in 10 career games vs. NFC North. In 4 games vs. division with Min., has 1,193 pass yards (298.3 per game) with 10 TDs vs. 4 INTs for 105.8 rating. * RB DALVIN COOK had 163 scrimmage yards (careerhigh 136 rush, 27 rec.) & 2 rush TDs, his 1st-career multi-TD game last week. Has 183 scrimmage yards (91.5 per game) & rush TD in 2 career meetings. Aims for his 5th in row with 75+ scrimmage yards. RB LATAVIUS MURRAY rushed for 68 yards & TD in Week 15. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Det. with rush TD. Has rush TD in 3 of 4 career meetings. * WR ADAM THIELEN ranks 2nd in NFL with 105 receptions & ranks 8th with 1,255 rec. yards this season. Had TD catch in last meeting. In 4 games vs. NFC North in 2018, has 31 receptions for 344 yards (86 per game) & 3 TDs. WR STEFON DIGGS had rec. TD last week. Aims for his 6th in row vs. division with TD. * VIKINGS had 9 sacks in Week 15. DE DANIELLE HUNTER ties for 2nd in NFL with 14.5 sacks this season. Had 2 sacks & 3 TFL last week. Aims for his 3rd in row with sack. Has 6.5 sacks & 2 FRs in his past 3 vs. Det. LB ANTHONY BARR had 7 tackles & 2 sacks in Week 15, his 1st-career multi-sack game. 

NFL coaches hot seat rankings

Lions notes: * QB MATTHEW STAFFORD completed 22 of 29 (75.9 pct.) for 208 yards with 1 TD vs. 0 INTs for 106.7 rating last week. Has 1,248 pass yards (249.6 per game) with 8 TDs vs. 2 INTs for 94.3 rating in his past 5 at home vs. Min. In his past 6 at home vs. division, has 1,576 pass yards (262.7 per game) with 11 TDs vs. 4 INTs for 99.4 rating. * RB ZACH ZENNER rushed for 45 yards & TD in Week 15. Aims for his 3rd in row with rush TD. RB LE GARRETTE BLOUNT has 2 rush TDs in 3 career games vs. Min. Has 2+ rush TDs in 2 of 4 career division games with Det. RB THEO RIDDICK aims for his 4th in row vs. NFC North with 6+ catches. Has 277 receptions since 2014, most among NFL RBs over span. * WR KENNY GOLLADAY led team with 7 receptions for career-high 146 yards last week. Has 1,005 rec. yards in 2018, his 1st-career 1,000 yard season. Has 20 receptions for 392 yards (78.4 pct.) & 3 TDs in his past 5 vs. division. Has TD catch in 3 of his past 5 vs. NFC North. WR ANDY JONES had 1st-career rec. TD in Week 15. * LB JARRAD DAVIS leads team with 88 tackles this season. Aims for his 3rd in row with 8+ tackles & TFL. Has 23 tackles, 3 PD, INT & FR in his past 3 at home vs. NFC North. DT A’SHAWN ROBINSON has 11 tackles, sack & FF in his past 2. CB DARIUS SLAY aims for his 3rd in row with 3+ PD. Had INT in last meeting. Has 4 INTs & 8 PD in his past 5 vs. division. — NFL Communications

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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