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Game Recap: Vikings Ground Ravens in 24-16 Victory

Posted Oct 22, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings used a blend of a smothering defense, strong special teams and Latavius Murray’s best game in Purple to dispatch the Ravens 24-16 on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota (5-2) limited Baltimore (3-4) to 208 yards of offense and kept the Ravens out of the red zone until 1:14 remained in the game. The Ravens scored their only touchdown on the final play of the game when Chris Moore caught a 13-yard pass from Joe Flacco.

The Vikings sacked Flacco five times and limited him to 26-of-38 passing for 186 yards, a stat line that was improved significantly on Baltimore’s final possession.

Everson Griffen led Minnesota with 2.0 sacks, bringing his total to 9.0 this season and extending his streak to seven straight games. Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter and Tom Johnson also sacked Flacco.

Marcus Sherels returned three punts a total of 83 yards and handled kickoff return duties for the first time in 2017, and Kai Forbath made a personal-best six field goals.

Forbath was 6-for-6 on field goals from 52, 51, 43, 43, 34 and 32 yards.

Murray rushed 18 times for 113 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown for his first score with Minnesota. Murray’s big day occurred on a day in which left guard Jeremiah Sirles and left tackle Riley Reiff suffered injuries. Danny Isidora replaced Sirles, and Rashod Hill filled in for Reiff.

Case Keenum completed 20 of 31 passes for 188 yards with one interception for a passer rating of 67.7.

The Vikings forced a quick three-and-punt on a sack by Hunter, and Sherels returned a 60-yarder by Sam Koch to the Baltimore 36.

Minnesota went for a quick shot play with a deep toss from Keenum to Laquon Treadwell on its first snap, but the ball was picked off by Brandon Carr at the 2 after multiple deflections.

Carr returned the pick 33 yards to the Minnesota 35.

Two plays later, Flacco completed a pass to Mike Wallace for a gain of 9.

Andrew Sendejo finished the tackle of Wallace and forced a fumble, but the turnover was negated by an unnecessary roughness call on Sendejo.

The Ravens retained possession and got the ball at the Minnesota 38. The Vikings defense held, however, and forced a 48-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.

Minnesota answered with a 52-yard field goal to tie the game at 3 with 3:39 left in the first quarter. The possession included 12-yard completions to C.J. Ham and Jarius Wright, who led the Vikings with three receptions for 54 yards.

Tom Johnson ended Baltimore’s next possession with a sack of Flacco, and Minnesota spanned the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter with an eight-play drive that Forbath ended with a 51-yard field goal for a 6-3 lead with 12:55 left in the first half.

Baltimore quickly answered with a 57-yard field goal by Tucker to cap a 33-yard drive.

After swapping punts, Minnesota got the ball with 7:36 left in the first half and drove 60 yards on 15 plays, chewing up 7:01 of clock before Forbath nailed a 43-yard field goal for a 9-6 lead with 35 seconds remaining.

The Vikings opened the second half with a 35-yard run by Murray on their first snap. Keenum added a scramble for 9, and Murray followed with a 9-yard rush to position the Vikings for a 43-yard field goal by Forbath and 12-6 lead with 10:53 left in the third quarter.

Anthony Barr sacked Flacco on a blitz to end Baltimore’s next possession, and Minnesota took over at the Baltimore 45-yard line after a 19-yard punt return by Marcus Sherels.

The Vikings capitalized on the field position when Murray broke free, got to the second level and made safety Tony Jefferson miss with a nifty  during a cutback for a 29-yard touchdown.