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Bradford: Vikings Offense Can Build Off Final Drive

MINNEAPOLIS –Minnesota's go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter featured new plays and execution in crunch time under the guidance of Sam Bradford.

The Vikings are focusing on those positive takeaways after a 22-16 overtime loss to the Lions. Detroit kicked a 58-yard field goal to tie the score as regulation ended and snagged an overtime touchdown to give Minnesota its first home loss third of the season.

Bradford made quick passes and led the Vikings on a 14-play drive that saw four gained first downs and wrapped up with a handoff to tight end Rhett Ellison, who got into the end zone.

"I thought we put together some nice drives, especially the drive at the end of the game," Bradford said. "I thought that was a real positive. I thought that was something we can build on going forward."

The offense seemed to start clicking and gain some momentum following a challenging second quarter in which the unit was unable to capitalize on a defensive turnover. Linebacker Chad Greenway snagged an interception, but the Vikings committed back-to-back penalties and allowed a sack of Bradford, ultimately punting the ball back to Detroit without a score.

Adam Thielen, who finished the game with four catches for 68 yards, said that Bradford gave the offense a bit of a "pep talk" after coming off the field with no points.

"I think Sam just pulled us aside and said, 'Hey, we're better than this,' " Thielen said.

Nine of Minnesota's snaps in the final-quarter, 79-yard drive were pass plays, and Bradford connected with Thielen and Stefon Diggs three times apiece.

Diggs, who finished as the team's leading receiver with **13 catches** for 80 yards, said it felt good to move down the field.

"To get [Sam] in a rhythm and get him going is important," Diggs said.

The Vikings decision to run Ellison on third-and-1 caught the Lions noticeably off guard. After the game, Ellison said the play was a new one that had been installed the playbook and practiced just this past week.

"It was a scheme play," Ellison said. "Any time I get the ball, they don't usually see it coming. It worked out."

Another wrinkle added by Minnesota on the play was lining up nose tackle Linval Joseph on the line for the touchdown run. Bradford liked the red zone move.

"I think it was nice," Bradford said. "Hopefully we can hand him the ball and let him run it in."

Kyle Rudolph, who had one catch on the day for Minnesota's first touchdown, also said he drew positives from the fourth-quarter drive, surprises thrown at Detroit's defense and ability to get Ellison into the end zone.

"[Those] are things we're going to have to do to win games," said Rudolph, who blamed the loss on "shooting ourselves in the foot."

"The days of just lining up and beating people are not as easy, so we have things like that that are going to catch people off guard," he continued.

The couple of new looks came under Pat Shurmur, who was named interim offensive coordinator on Wednesday following Norv Turner's resignation.

While Bradford said the changes weren't extensive on the short turnaround, he appreciated Shurmur's direction.

"I thought Pat did a good job today just keeping it relatively simple," Bradford said of Shurmur, who was his offensive coordinator in both St. Louis and Philadelphia. "Getting the ball out quick, getting it to our guys in space and then trying to let them create on the perimeter."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer liked some things he saw from the offense. He told media following the game that it was a tough loss that still offered silver linings.

"I thought offensively we were efficient," Zimmer said. "I thought we did a nice job of mixing things up."

As much as the overtime loss stung, Bradford said he was happy overall with the way Minnesota's offense rallied and made plays. He finished 31-of-40 for 273 yards and a rating of 103.4.

"I thought we had a good chance to win the football game," Bradford said. "In this league, it's never over until the clock hits zero.

"But I thought it was a great drive by our guys," he added. "It was a great response. I was really proud by how we were able to go down there and get a touchdown."

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