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Lunchbreak: Vikings Know There's Room to Grow After Thrilling Victory Over Lions

A win is a win.

The Vikings have already seen both ends of the victory spectrum in two of their three games this season. The first was a dominant performance from start to finish against the Green Bay Packers.

The second win required a lot more grit and determination. The Vikings had to battle back from two double-digit deficits to stun the Detroit Lions on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

A 28-yard touchdown from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver K.J. Osborn put Minnesota in front, 28-24, with less than a minute remaining. A few plays later, Vikings safety Josh Metellus sealed the win with his first career interception.

Alec Lewis of The Athletic wrote while the Vikings can breathe a sigh of relief, the team knows there's a lot to improve:

The reality in the short term is this: The status quo, both offensively and defensively, is not going to sustain the energy-filled scenes or positive vibes of this win.

"I know there's going to be a ton of things to clean up as a team, as an offense, as an individual," wide receiver Adam Thielen said.

"There was so much that wasn't good enough," Cousins added.

Lewis said defensively, similar to the Monday Night Football loss to Philadelphia last week, the Vikings allowed Detroit's receivers to create separation. He wrote:

Per Next Gen Stats, four Detroit pass catchers, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds and T.J. Hockenson, all amassed above-average separation. Some of this was the result of how much zone the Vikings defense plays under [Defensive Coordinator Ed] Donatell.

"Sometimes we've got to make plays on the ball," linebacker Eric Kendricks acknowledged. "But we're still all figuring out this defense."

Early on in the game, the Vikings defense allowed Detroit to take advantage of open receiving lanes and convert on multiple fourth downs. The Lions were successful on four of their six attempts on the down.

Kendricks added despite the Vikings ability to tighten up defensively in the fourth quarter, things can be a lot better.

"We got hit in the mouth a lot," Kendricks said. "(We) weren't perfect."

Offensively, Minnesota also struggled in the beginning stages. Cousins recorded just two completions in the first quarter. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson was held to a pair of receptions and 11 yards in the first half and finished with three catches for 14 yards.

Jefferson's quiet day on the stat sheet, however, opened the door for teammates like Osborn to make big plays.

"I believe Justin was doubled," Cousins said about the touchdown to Osborn in the final minute. "So, you realize, 'Hey, Justin here is allowing what's happening to happen.'"

Cousins added the offense is continuing to make progress, but he knows the Vikings have to capitalize when it's necessary.

"We're still getting there," Cousins said. "And I think you can see today, it's not where I want it to be. It's a good plan. It's just time on task. Every game, we're learning something and getting better. But we just don't have time. We've got to get it locked in."

As the Vikings turn their attention overseas this week with a trip to London to face New Orleans, Lewis wrote Minnesota has to be more consistent to achieve long-term success:

Winning without being "locked in," to use Cousins' verbiage, is in many ways fortunate.

But it's also not sustainable, and [Head Coach Kevin] O'Connell, for as proud as he was of his team's scrappy effort, understood that.

"There will be some moments that we'll go back and look on and think we could've had some earlier success in critical moments," O'Connell said. "So, we've got to get better from this."

CBS Sports Gives Out Grades for Week 3

The Vikings returned home seeking to bounce back from a tough loss in Week 2 in Philadelphia. Minnesota did, winning in thrilling fashion with a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute.

John Breech of CBS Sports recently analyzed every game on Sunday from Week 3 and provided grades for each team. Breech gave the Vikings a grade of B- for their game. He wrote:

Five days after melting down on Monday night, Kirk Cousins was back in his Sunday afternoon comfort zone. A big reason the Vikings won this game is because Cousins caught fire in the fourth quarter, going 9-for-12 for 125 yards and two touchdowns. The final TD came on a 28-yard pass to K.J. Osborn with just 45 seconds left. The performance by Cousins bailed out a Vikings team that made several big mistakes including two missed field goals and a lost fumble in the third quarter.