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How We Got Here: Recap of Games 1-4

Posted Jan 2, 2018

With the Vikings on a bye this week until hosting a Divisional game on Jan. 14, Vikings.com is taking a quick look back at the 2017 season’s 16 games in four quarters.

Week 1

Monday, Sept. 11

Vikings 29, Saints 19 at U.S. Bank Stadium

Key stat

The Vikings defense kept the Saints out of the end zone for the first 58-plus minutes of the game and limited New Orleans to 0-for-3 on goal-to-go situations and 1-for-5 on trips inside the red zone.

Decisive moment

The Vikings drove 95 yards on 10 plays in 1:40 for a 2-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to Stefon Diggs for a 16-6 lead with three seconds left in the first half. The drive included completions of 44 yards to Adam Thielen (nine catches for 157 yards) and 20 yards to Diggs (seven for 93 with two scores).

Star of the game

Bradford accrued a career-best passer rating of 143.0 by completing 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Quote of the day

“I think we had some shots in the game plan, but we kind of felt them out in the first quarter, saw some looks that we could take advantage of. I thought our guys outside did a great job getting open, beating man coverage, finding soft spots in the zone. We were able to create some explosive plays based on what we saw early in the game.” — Bradford

Photo of the game

Diggs hangs on to the football for a gain of 20, despite a hit from Kenny Vaccaro that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty.

Week 2

Sunday, Sept. 17

Steelers 26, Vikings 9 at Heinz Field

 

Key stat

The Vikings were flagged 11 times for a season-worst 131 yards, including four times for 86 yards less than 17 minutes into the game. A 22-yard pass interference on Xavier Rhodes occurred on a second-and-6, and a 49-yard pass interference against Trae Waynes occurred on a second-and-22.

Decisive moment

The Steelers drove 74 yards on 10 plays for a 29-yard field goal by Chris Boswell, which gave Pittsburgh a 20-9 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter in response to a touchdown drive by Minnesota. Pittsburgh’s possession included a gain of 13 on a third-and-12 from the Steelers 25 that was followed by a 51-yard completion from Ben Roethlisberger to Martavis Bryant.

Quote of the day

“These guys right here in this locker room, we’re all about work. We know we got to back to work and evaluate and just get better. We’re going to be the team that we’re going to be – a physical team – and we’re going to come out and play football like Coach Zim’ wants us to play football. So we just have to keep working, and next week is a new week for us, for a new challenge.” — Dalvin Cook

Star of the game

Cook rushed for 64 yards on 12 carries (5.3 average) in his second pro game.

Photo of the game

Case Keenum leads the Vikings huddle during his first start for Minnesota.

Week 3

Sunday, Sept. 24

Vikings 34, Buccaneers 17 at U.S. Bank Stadium

Key stat

Case Keenum totaled 369 passing yards and a passer rating of 142.1 (career bests), along with three touchdowns, helping the Vikings offense net 494 yards.

Decisive moment

Trae Waynes intercepted Jameis Winston at the Minnesota 2-yard line late in the second quarter, and the Vikings followed with a six-play, 92-yard touchdown drive for a 21-3 lead with 47 seconds left in the first half.

Quote of the day

“This crowd is outstanding, and this place is incredible. I know it’s my favorite. It’s my wife’s favorite place to watch a game, too. I’m sure she enjoyed herself today, as well. I think, second week, kind of getting that out of my system last week, being comfortable with the game plan, playing at home, and just kind of getting into a rhythm early.” — Keenum on his first start at U.S. Bank Stadium 

Star of the game

Diggs caught eight passes for 173 yards, including touchdowns of 17 and 59 yards.

Photo of the game

Andrew Sendejo celebrates one of three Vikings interceptions on the day.

Week 4

Sunday, Oct. 1 

Lions 14, Vikings 7 at U.S. Bank Stadium

Key stat

The Vikings lost all three fumbles they committed, but the Lions recovered their lone fumble at their own 11-yard line.

Decisive moment

The Vikings lost fumbles on consecutive offensive plays in the third quarter, leading to 10 points for the Lions. Minnesota implemented the Wildcat formation with Jerick McKinnon in the shotgun at QB on the first fumble. The Vikings lost the ball again a play later when Dalvin Cook suffered a torn ACL.

Quote of the day

“You look at putting the ball on the ground three times … and still losing the game 14-7 against a really good team. We were close, we were right there and had a chance. With all that being said, this will definitely be one that you go back and watch. The good thing is that we still have a lot of football left in front of us, and the last time we were in the playoffs, we were 2-2 going in to Week 5, as well. So, we’ve gone on runs before.” — Kyle Rudolph

Star of the game

Diggs caught five passes for 98 yards, including gains of 21 and 33 yards during Minnesota’s touchdown drive in the second quarter.

Photo of the game

Everson Griffen takes down Matthew Stafford for one of the Vikings six sacks against the Lions.

Click here for a recap of games 5-8

Click here for a recap of games 9-12

Click here for a recap of games 13-16