The Vikings extended their winning streak to three games on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, topping the New York Jets by a score of 37-17 to move to 4-2-1 on the season in advance of a two-game home stand before heading into their bye. Here are five takeaways from Sunday's win over the Jets.
1. Four touchdowns, four takeaways
The Vikings were on the right side of the ledger in two critical metrics – touchdowns and turnovers. Latavius Murray provided scoring on the ground with two touchdowns, including a 38-yarder early in the 4th quarter that gave his team a decisive 17-point edge. Wide receivers Aldrick Robinson and Adam Thielen added one touchdown a piece, as well, helping to highlight a two-touchdowns, zero-interception outing from quarterback Kirk Cousins. In terms of turnovers, the Vikings committed zero on offense and they took the ball from the Jets four times. The four takeaways came via interceptions from rookie cornerback Holton Hill, safety Harrison Smith and cornerback Trae Waynes, and Tom Johnson added one with a fumble recovery in the 2nd quarter. The Vikings offense did a quality job of taking advantage of the sudden changes and good field position, scoring 17 points off the four turnovers.
2. Defense shut down Jets offense
The Jets offense flashed early in the game when they marched 86 yards in six plays to score a touchdown and tie the game at seven. After that, though, the Vikings defense shut down Sam Darnold and Co. The Jets were able to net only 12 yards and two 1st downs on the next 10 drives. Darnold finished with 206 passing yards, but even that is deceiving because 120 of those yards came in the 4th quarter when the Vikings had a three-score lead and ended two Jets drives with interceptions of the rookie quarterback. For the game, the Vikings defense held New York to two of 15 on 3rd downs and head coach Mike Zimmer's group has now held opponents two just two conversions in the last 29 3rd down snaps.
3. Thielen does it again
Death. Taxes. And Thielen going for 100 yards in a game. Those seem to be the only guarantees in life. Thielen did it again against the Jets, gaining 110 yards on nine catches, including a 34-yard touchdown grab to open the scoring in the 1st quarter. That makes seven consecutive games with 100+ receiving yards, which is a NFL record in the Super Bowl-era for 100-yard games to start a season. The NFL record for consecutive games with 100+ receiving yards is eight and is held by Calvin Johnson. Thielen can match Johnson's mark next week against the New Orleans Saints.
4. Vikings run defense, special teams provided edges
The Vikings knew that slowing down the Jets rushing attack and finding ways to win on special teams was key to leaving MetLife Stadium with another win. They did just that. New York had only 24 rushing yards on 12 carries at halftime and then finished the game with a pedestrian 71 yards on 14 carries. This is a win for the Vikings defense and was made even more significant considering starting defensive tackle Linval Joseph was not active for the game. On special teams, the Vikings did a good job of containing game-changing returner Andre Roberts, who had only eight punt return yards on two tries and averaged 32.2 yards per kickoff return. Roberts did rip off a 53-yard return that led to a score, but that was his only field-shifting play of the game. Other areas of positivity for the Vikings special teams group included Matt Wile, who had a 66-yard punt, a 46.8 net average and four punts downed inside the 20, as well as the fact that New York scored a touchdown on just one of eight possessions that began after a Vikings punt. Also, Marcus Sherels had 52 punt return yards on five tries and Hill, who replaced fellow rookie Mike Hughes as the kickoff returner, had a 30-yard kickoff return.
View game action images as the Vikings take on the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
5. Injuries mounting
The Vikings went into the game with starters Dalvin Cook, Joseph, Riley Reiff and Andrew Sendejo all out with injuries. During the game, the following players were injured and did not return: Anthony Barr, Tom Compton and Xavier Rhodes. Injuries are a part of the game and every team deals with them, with the Vikings certainly being no exception. Quality depth is everywhere on the roster and has stepped up plenty of times already this season. The Vikings will need even more solid play from its depth players this week against the Saints.