The kick was rather unassuming, but the return was something special.
It took a moment for Cordarrelle Patterson to corral the bouncer from Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski at the Minnesota 7-yard line, but once he did, he exploded with quick cuts and a sprint down the sideline.
Patterson started going to the outside but jutted inside to set up a block by Adam Thielen. Patterson then zoomed toward the sideline and benefitted from a cluster of blocking by Matt Asiata, Zach Line, Edmond Robinson and Rhett Ellison.
"That's why we play this game," quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said. "It takes a complete team effort. Earlier in the week, Coach [Mike] Zimmer mentioned, 'Let's go make a play on special teams.' Cordarrelle did that today, and the guys did a great job of setting that up for him."
Ellison, this week's special teams captain for the Vikings, finished off Janikowski with a pancake block at the Oakland 30 to make sure Patterson wouldn't be touched during the 93-yard TD return.
The play proved to be a pivotal sway in momentum for the Vikings, who prevailed 30-14 in Oakland for Minnesota's first win in California since 2007. The Vikings (7-2) moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC North with the win and a loss by the Packers (6-3) at home against the Lions.
Patterson's TD was an immediate answer to Oakland taking its first lead of the game and put the Vikings up 20-14. Minnesota didn't allow any points the rest of the game.
"That was big," Zimmer said. "It got us a chance to get the lead back, because I felt like we had kind of dominated the first half. We gave up two bad plays defensively, but I thought we did a lot of good things in the first half, so it was good to have the lead again."
It was the third kickoff returned for a touchdown by Patterson and first since Oct. 27, 2013 when Patterson had two during his rookie season.
It also was the Vikings 10th return for a special teams touchdown under Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer (five kickoff returns, three punt returns and two returns of blocked punts).
"Coach Priefer, he expresses and coaches those guys extremely hard throughout the course of the week, and then Coach Zimmer talks about winning the turnover battle," Bridgewater said. "Those guys did a great job of doing that on defense today. Having the run game that we have, those guys did a great job of opening the holes. Adrian did a great job of seeing and reacting. Anytime we're winning it's fun. I'd rather not be in those shootouts. That means we're doing something wrong."