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How We Got Here: Recap of Games 5-8

Posted Jan 3, 2018

Week 5

Monday, Oct. 9 

Vikings 20, Bears 17 at Soldier Field

Key stat

In a gritty, NFC North division matchup at Soldier Field on the Monday Night Football stage, the Vikings demonstrated that they could still run the ball, despite losing Dalvin Cook for the season the previous week. Minnesota rushed for 159 yards on 31 attempts, led by Jerick McKinnon, who recorded 16 carries for 95 yards.

Decisive moment

Minnesota’s defense showed up in a big way in Chicago. With just over two minutes remaining in the game, Harrison Smith picked off Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The interception, which was Smith’s fourth against the Bears, allowed the Vikings to control the clock with a six-play drive that set up Kai Forbath for a 26-yard field goal with just 12 seconds to go.

Star of the game

Sam Bradford attempted to make his return to the field after suffering a knee injury in Week 1, but he re-aggravated the injury and was replaced by Case Keenum in the second half. Keenum finished the night 17-of-21 passing for 140 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 110.3.

Quote of the day

“It’s huge to get a win here. We dropped the ball last week at home against the Lions, and we have Green Bay coming to Minnesota next week, so this was a big one for us. We had to get back on track, starting the second quarter [of the season], we want to get in the win column.” – Kyle Rudolph, who scored one of two Vikings touchdowns on the evening

Photo of the game

Rudolph and the Vikings celebrated his touchdown catch with a game of “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” that went viral and sparked a national debate on the proper name of the children’s game.

Week 6

Sunday, Oct. 15

Vikings 23, Packers 10 at U.S. Bank Stadium

Key stat

The Vikings defense snagged three interceptions for the second time this season. Harrison Smith nabbed his second interception in as many games, while Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes also picked off Packers quarterback Brett Hundley.

Decisive moment

After the Packers tied the game at 7 with a Davante Adams touchdown catch, the Vikings answered right back. On the first play of the drive, Adam Thielen drew a 42-yard pass interference penalty that flipped the field position in Minnesota’s favor. The Vikings drove down the field and capped off an 84-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown by Jerick McKinnon.

Quote of the day

“Discipline of what we are asked to do is big. We love playing. We all love playing. We love playing together and we love the coaches. We love coming to the sideline and getting hyped with them. There is still a lot of football left to be played, and we know that. We just have to continue getting better each week.” – Smith

Star of the game

McKinnon scored both of Minnesota’s touchdowns on the day, starting with a screen pass from Keenum that turned into a 27-yard touchdown reception. He led the Vikings in rushing yards with 69 on 15 carries, including his 3-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Photo of the game

Brian Robison recorded one of the Vikings four sacks of Hundley, who was limited to 18-of-33 passing for 157 yards and a passer rating of 39.6.

Week 7

Sunday, Oct. 22

Vikings 24, Ravens 16 at U.S. Bank Stadium

Key stat

The Vikings defense held the Ravens to 29 yards rushing on 11 carries (2.6 avg.) in the first half and just 64 yards on 20 attempts (3.2 avg.) overall.

Decisive moment

On a breakout day for Latavius Murray, the running back gave Minnesota a strong open to the second half. The Vikings held a 9-6 lead over the Ravens entering the third quarter, and Murray rumbled for 35 yards on the first snap. The explosive run by Murray, who went on to record 113 rushing yards, sparked a drive that was capped by Kai Forbath kicking a 43-yard field goal to extend Minnesota’s lead. After that point, the Vikings never looked back.

Quote of the day

“Each week provides a new challenge, and with the group that we have, I think everyone’s kind of up for that task – playing together, playing hard, always stopping the run, and we’ve been doing that pretty well. Hopefully we can keep that going.” – Anthony Barr on back-to-back wins after going 2-2 to start the season

Star of the game

Kai Forbath was 6-of-6 on field goals for the day, kicking from distances of 52, 52, 43, 43, 34 and 32 yards. Combined with three field goals by Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, the specialists tied an NFL record with nine field goals made in one game.

Photo of the game

Everson Griffen forces a fumble during one of his two sacks of Joe Flacco.

Week 8

Sunday, Oct. 29

Vikings 33, Browns 16 at Twickenham Stadium (London)

Key stat

The Vikings controlled the clock throughout much of the game, maintaining possession for 37:52 in comparison to the Browns 22:08.

Decisive moment

Minnesota’s matchup across the pond started out as a back-and-forth one, but a stand by the defense gave the Vikings momentum they needed to start pulling away. In the third quarter and with Minnesota holding a 2-point lead, the Browns had a first-and-goal situation from the Vikings 6. Minnesota’s defense did not allow the Browns inside the 5, however, forcing a field goal attempt that gave Cleveland a short-lived 1-point lead. On the following drive, the Vikings drove 75 yards down the field and finished with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jerick McKinnon, who then also succeeded on a 2-point conversion.

Quote of the day

“This is the best team I've been a part of, from top to bottom. This year we're more dialed in, we're more physical, we're running to the ball more, we're making more plays, and we're doing it on all three phases – on the offensive side, defensive side and special teams. And everything works together.” – Everson Griffen

Star of the game

Thielen scored his first touchdown of the season on an 18-yard catch and celebrated with a soccer slide that earned plenty of positive feedback from the European crowd. Thielen finished the game with five catches for 98 yards and earned “Man of the Match” honors.

Photo of the game

Thielen delivers the soccer-style “celly” after his first touchdown of the season.

Click here for a recap of games 1-4

Click here for a recap of games 9-12

Click here for a recap of games 13-16