View game action photos from the Vikings game against the Cleveland Browns at U.S. Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS — The chances were there for the Vikings in this one.
But they were beaten at their own game Sunday in a 14-7 home loss to the Browns.
It was a good bet that whichever team held the ball longest would come away with the win at U.S. Bank Stadium. Unfortunately for the Vikings, that edge went to the Browns … and in a big way.
Cleveland controlled the clock for a whopping 35 minutes and 32 seconds Sunday, with Minnesota possessing the ball for just 24:28.
The Browns rushed for 184 yards on the day. Nick Chubb totaled 100 yards on 21 attempts, and Kareem Hunt tallied 69 yards and a score on 14 attempts.
The Vikings took off 7:34 on their opening possession, marching 75 yards in 14 plays as Minnesota scored to start the game for the third straight week.
But the Vikings offense controlled the ball for less than 17 minutes the rest of the game, as Minnesota gained just 180 yards on 49 plays after the touchdown.
Minnesota converted twice on its first three third-down plays, but moved the chains just three times on 13 tries the rest of the way.
The Vikings now have a 1-3 record for the second consecutive season.
The Vikings finish up a three-game homestand in Week 5 against the Lions. Kickoff is at noon (CT).
Here are four other takeaways from Minnesota's loss to Cleveland:
1. All sorts of aggressiveness
You think both head coaches wanted to win this one?
The aggressiveness from Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski was on full display in Week 4.
The coaches — and former colleagues — combined to go for it on four separate fourth-down plays against each other.
Zimmer went first, opting to go for it in the first quarter on fourth-and-1 at the Cleveland 9. Fullback C.J. Ham powered ahead for a yard to move the chains, which eventually led to a 12-yard touchdown catch by Justin Jefferson.
Stefanski was up next, going for it on fourth-and-4 from the Vikings 6. Minnesota made the stand, with Everson Griffen sacking Baker Mayfield on the play.
Not to be outdone, Zimmer then showed his aggressiveness again by keeping the offense on the field on fourth-and-6 from the Cleveland 36.
Minnesota couldn't move the chains, as Cousins' pass to Thielen fell incomplete. The Vikings passed up a 54-yard field goal on the play.
According to analytics data provided by ESPN, Minnesota had a 68.6-percent chance to win the game if they punted. That win percentage was 69.8 if they converted and 70.7 percent if they made the field goal.
Stefanski later went for it again on fourth down, this time on fourth-and-goal from the 2, but there was no official offensive play as Eric Kendricks was called for defensive holding.
The former Vikings offensive coordinator lined up to try again on fourth-and-1 from the Vikings 42, but the Browns were called for a false start and punted the ball away.
Minnesota went for it on fourth-and-3 from the Browns 33 inside the 2-minute warning of the second half, but Cousins' attempt was incomplete.
The Vikings were 1-of-3 on fourth down while the Browns were 0-for-1.
2. Cousins throws first pick, Cook sees minimal time
The lack of possession time hampered the Vikings offense in terms of getting in a rhythm.
The Vikings quarterback had his worst statistical game of the season thus far, throwing for 203 yards. He compiled a quarterback rating of 66.0, ending his streak of 17 straight games with rating above 90.
Cousins also threw his first interception of the season. It came on a deep shot to Adam Thielen in the fourth quarter when Greedy Williams undercut the pass for the turnover.
Dalvin Cook also struggled to get into a groove Sunday as he battled through an ankle injury that kept him out of last weekend's win.
Cook got the start and mostly played the first half, but was on the sideline for the majority of the second half. He returned in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and popped off a 13-yard run.
Cook finished with nine carries for 34 yards, while Alexander Mattison had a team-high 10 carries for 20 yards.
3. Another baffling final 2 minutes
The Vikings woes continued in the final two minutes of the first half.
Entering Sunday's game, Minnesota had allowed a whopping 24 points in that timespan. But that total is now at 35 as Cleveland scored all of its first-half points in the final 1:16.
The Browns scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on their seventh straight play inside the Vikings 3-yard line to make it a 7-6 game. But after the Vikings were called for a penalty on the point after try, Cleveland converted the ensuing 2-point possession from the 1-yard line.
The Vikings got the ball back but used up just 31 seconds off the clock, which allowed the Browns to strike for more points.
Cleveland's Chase McLaughlin hit a 48-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half to give the Browns an 11-7 lead at the break.
4. Lynch, Dantzler see significant playing time
Credit a pair of young Vikings defenders for stepping up when called upon.
Cornerback Cameron Dantzler and linebacker Blake Lynch both elevated their play against the Browns and flashed multiple times.
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland got the start for Minnesota's defense, but he left the game after making a hard tackle in the first quarter. He was later listed as questionable to return with an illness.
Enter Dantzler, who fared well against Cleveland. He showed up in the run game, and also had strong coverage on Odell Beckham, Jr., on a deep pass attempt.
Lynch showed up in multiple phases. He broke up a pass over the middle in the first half and later had great coverage on a pass in the flat.
He also showed up on special teams with a sound tackle on kickoff coverage.
Vikings defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who suffered an elbow/shoulder injury in practice this week, started but was injured midway through the game. He was ruled doubtful to return in the second half.
Dalvin Tomlinson, Armon Watts and Sheldon Richardson worked at defensive tackle after Pierce left the game.