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Action Reaction: Physical Lines Help Vikings on Short Week vs. Lions

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings returned from Seattle at 4 a.m. Tuesday with bleary eyes and sore muscles.

It seems they also had a refined focus and a resurgent fire that helped against another physical opponent Sunday.

The Vikings were able to prevail 20-7 at U.S. Bank Stadium, remaining unbeaten at home this season and improving to 9-4.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said the team adjusted to the shortened week then came ready for the challenge.

"We got back real late from Seattle and had to kind of ease into things a little bit because of where they were," Zimmer said when asked about the offensive and defensive lines. "But yeah, I thought they played well. You know, it's a physical bunch over there, and I thought we were physical on both sides of the ball today."

Pre-game question: How would the Vikings fare after a short week and emotional loss?

In-game action:

The Vikings affected undrafted rookie quarterback David Blough early and often in his second career start.

Minnesota blitzed Harrison Smith on the first snap of the game, and the safety broke up a pass. Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen broke up the next pass before Danielle Hunter sacked Blough on third down and reached a historic personal milestone.

Blough finished 24-of-40 passing for 205 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked five times and intercepted twice, finishing with a passer rating of 60.9.

As for the run defense, the Vikings bottled up Bo Scarbrough, Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic, allowing a combined 70 yards on 22 attempts (3.2 yards per carry).

A week after allowing 5 or more yards on 15 different rushes by the Seahawks and getting gashed for 218 on the ground, the Vikings allowed seven runs of 5 or more yards by the Lions. A pair of 7-yarders by Scarbrough were the longest gains allowed on the ground by Minnesota.

Minnesota's offensive line also answered the bell multiple times in pass protection and helping the Vikings total 120 rushing yards.

Kirk Cousins completed 24 of 30 passes (80 percent) for 242 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 111.4. Cousins had plenty of time on a 44-yard pass to Stefon Diggs that led to a 3-yard touchdown by Dalvin Cook in the final minute of the first half.

The score gave Minnesota a 17-0 lead at halftime.

As for Cook, he brought a toughness a week after missing the second half with a chest injury. He rushed 18 times for 62 yards.

Postgame reaction:

"I think it's important we get a chip back on our shoulder, and I thought we kind of did that today. So we need to keep going and keep doing that. You know, that's why I wish we wouldn't have let them score."

— Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

"Great to get back in front of our fans. I thought they brought a lot of energy today and had a big impact on how dominant our defense was. Can't say enough good things about our defense, the way they really dominated so much of the game. And that really created the tenor for the game for us. We didn't feel that much pressure on offense to have to keep scoring, keep scoring because of the way our defense was playing."

— QB Kirk Cousins

"[Cook] did a great job with his body this week, getting healthy, and then it was just a great encouragement to have him out there and try to keep our main unit as intact as possible."

— Cousins

"Every time we play the Lions, it's a gritty game. Divisional game, so we know what it's going to be like, and it lived up to it today, for sure."

— G Pat Elflein

Dalvin's a stud. He's going to come in and tell you he feels great. We love him, and he works so hard for this team and offense. We'd have liked to have gotten him some more yards today, so we'll go in, watch the film and see what we could have done better."

— C Garrett Bradbury

"This team is very resilient. One loss is not going to get us down because we are better than that. We came into this week angry, so coming out like this is huge for us."

— WR Bisi Johnson, who caught his third career touchdown and second in as many games against Detroit

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

"Yeah, we just try to correct things week-in and week-out. Obviously, we can't control what happened last week anymore, but we came out today with some fire and showed what we could do. We were communicating really well, we made little adjustments, and we had good coverage on them all day. I am excited to see the film to see how we truly did."

— LB Eric Kendricks

"We touched on it this week that we have a lot of good guys on this defense. We just have to remember that and trust in one another."

— S Harrison Smith

"It is good, but I will always want more. Defensive backs are greedy by nature. We are always trying to create more turnovers."

— Smith on recording his 22nd career interception, which ties him with Orlando Thomas and John Turner for seventh in Vikings history

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