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5 Takeaways: Vikings Remain Perfect at Home, Use Rotation at Cornerback

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings have now played six home games in 2019, and have delivered blowouts, a come-from-behind victory and a couple of grind-it-out wins.

Minnesota remained perfect at home with Sunday's gritty 20-7 victory over the Lions. (Entering Week 14, only the Vikings and Patriots were perfect at home).

The Vikings defense barely missed posting the first-ever shutout at U.S. Bank Stadium, but the unit allowed just 231 yards to Detroit, the third-lowest total of the season.

Offensively, Minnesota got touchdowns from Bisi Johnson (9-yard catch) and Dalvin Cook (3-yard run), along with a pair of Dan Bailey field goals.

The Vikings are three quarters of the way through a perfect home season, something they have never accomplished at U.S. Bank Stadium. (The 2017 team with 7-1 at home with a loss to Detroit).

Minnesota's next home game will be a big one to say the least, as the Vikings will host the Packers on Monday Night Football on Dec. 23. Kickoff is at 7:15 p.m. (CT).

Green Bay is 0-3 all-time at U.S. Bank Stadium.

But first, the Vikings will visit the Chargers on Dec. 15.

Here are four other takeaways from Sunday's win:

1. Multiple cornerbacks see work

The Vikings employed a rotation of sorts at cornerback, as multiple players saw extensive time in the secondary.

Minnesota opened with it usual starting group Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes on the outside, with Mackensie Alexander in the slot.

But Mike Hughes replaced Rhodes for the second drive, only to see Waynes come out and Hughes and Rhodes work together later on.

The Vikings have placed a notable emphasis on their pass defense in recent weeks, and Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said that his team wanted to implement a rotation today.

The rotation didn't last the entire game, as Rhodes injured his ankle when he collided with Harrison Smith on Smith's third-quarter interception. Hughes was later announced as questionable to return with an oblique injury.

"We planned on doing it going into the ball game, but we had a couple guys get dinged and we had to change the rotation a little bit," Zimmer said. "I just think it's important to mix some guys in there and let some guys adjust and see how the game is.

"More importantly … I think in the last two weeks, they've been in much better position in pass defense than we were in the previous four or five weeks," Zimmer added. "If that's the case, then we'll continue to get better."

By the end of the game, Zimmer had Kris Boyd and Holton Hill at cornerback, with Alexander in the slot. The Vikings allowed just 161 net passing yards to the Lions, and it was a group effort that got the job done.

2. All hands on deck

The Vikings made things tough on David Blough early on, as Smith batted down Blough's pass at the line of scrimmage on the opening play of the game.

Shamar Stephen then got his paws on the ensuing play before Danielle Hunter raced in for a sack to set the tone for Minnesota's defense.

Hughes then had a pass breakup when Blough looked for Marvin Jones, Jr., on third down on Detroit's second drive. Hughes' deflection helped the Vikings defense begin the game with two straight three-and-outs.

Smith and Andrew Sendejo had interceptions for the Vikings defense. Smith led the Vikings defense with a pair of pass breakups, while press box statisticians gave PBUs to Hughes, Stephen and Sendejo.

View postgame celebration images that followed the Vikings win over the Lions.

3. Tightening up special teams — By Lindsey Young

The Vikings bounced back on all three phases after a tough loss at Seattle on Monday.

Minnesota's special teams had multiple bright spots, with Bailey nailing a 50-yard field goal to open the fourth quarter and extend the Vikings lead to 20-0. Bailey also was good from 27 yards earlier in the game, and he made both PAT attempts.

The Vikings also got a little more out of their return game, something Head Coach Mike Zimmer had emphasized this week.

Mike Hughes returned four punts for 43 yards, averaging 10.8 per return; Bisi Johnson fair-caught an additional punt. Ameer Abdullah returned a short kickoff for 14 yards to open the second half.

Britton Colquitt punted six times for 222 yards, with a net average of 35.2 yards per boot. He landed four inside the 20 and had no touchbacks.

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Detroit Lions during Week 14 at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

4. Penalties high in number but not cost — By Craig Peters

The Vikings were flagged a total of eight times for 55 yards, but only twice in the second half.

Minnesota's defense drew the most attention from officials, accounting for five infractions.

There was an offsides against Everson Griffen on a third-and-11 that was followed with a holding call against Harrison Smith that awarded Detroit a new set of downs, but Minnesota quickly bounced back by forcing an incompletion, a gain of 2 on a run and a loss of 14 on a sack by Hunter.

Minnesota also had a 5-yard hands-to-the-face penalty on Linval Joseph and a hold against Anthony Barr late in the first half. Hunter again came up with a sack for a loss of 12, and Detroit missed the ensuing 45-yard field goal.

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There also were a pair of special teams penalties, a hold that went against Stephen Weatherly and a false start by gunner Ameer Abdullah. Weatherly also had a 15-yard roughing the passer when his hand hit Blough's helmet.

The only penalty against the offense occurred on a fourth-and-1 from the Detroit 4-yard line. Minnesota was hustling to the line and trying to execute a quick snap to catch the Lions off guard, but the Vikings drew a false start penalty.

Center Garrett Bradbury said after the game that the penalty was on him. It resulted in the Vikings opting for Bailey's first field goal and a 10-point lead.

Penalties have been up for Minnesota this season, a departure for norm during the Zimmer era, but the Vikings were able to avoid much harm for them on Sunday. That's not always the case, so it will be a point of focus in the final three games of the season.

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