How We Got Here: Recap of Games 9-12

Week 10

Sunday, Nov. 12

Vikings 38, Redskins 30 at FedEx Field

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday.

Key stat

The scoreboard ended with a 38 next to the Vikings, as Minnesota ended up with its highest point total of the season. And while the offense produced plenty of big highlights (four passing plays went for 38 yards or more), it was a dominant red-zone effort that led the way to a win. In their first game after harping on red-zone success at practice, the Vikings scored touchdowns on all five trips inside the 20-yard line. The 5-for-5 performance paved the way for Minnesota’s fifth-straight win.

Decisive moment

The Vikings trailed by three when Case Keenum connected with Adam Thielen for a 7-yard touchdown pass with just under two minutes remaining in the first half. Mackensie Alexander then notched the first pick of his career on Washington’s next offensive play, which led to a 1-yard touchdown catch by tight end David Morgan. Minnesota then got the ball to start the second half and went 72 yards in six plays, capped off by a Jarius Wright touchdown reception. In the span of 4:27 of game time, Minnesota scored 21 points and grabbed a 35-17 lead.

Star of the game

In a season in which Thielen produced the best numbers of his career, the Vikings wide receiver had his most prolific game of 2017. Thielen had eight catches for a season-high 166 yards and a touchdown, helping lead the way for a Minnesota offense that racked up 406 total yards. He had receptions of 49, 38 and 38 yards in the nation’s capital.

Quote of the day

“Just running out of that locker room, being able to stand next to those guys on the sideline for the National Anthem, it just all boiled up. I kind of screamed a little on the sideline after I said my prayer in the end zone. Then when I got on the sideline, I was like, ‘Man, this is really about to happen.’ Today was a great moment for my personal life, but it was an even better moment for this team. They got out there and competed, and we won a big game we needed to win on the road.” — Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, on his pregame emotions after being active for a game for the first time in 21 months

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Photo of the game

Alexander’s first career pick came at a crucial time, as his interception off Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins helped spark a 21-point surge for the Vikings. A second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Alexander did not have an interception during his rookie season or during his college career at Clemson.

Week 11

Sunday, Nov. 19

Vikings 24, Rams 7 at U.S. Bank Stadium

View exclusive images shot by the team photographer (IG: vikingsphotog) from the Nov. 19 game against the Rams.

Key stat

While Todd Gurley had a touchdown run against the Vikings, he gained just 37 yards on 15 carries as Los Angeles gained just one first down on the ground. The Rams running back* *has garnered MVP consideration after he rushed for a league-high 13 touchdowns and ran for 1,305 yards, the second-most yards in the NFL.

Decisive moment

With the game tied at 7, Los Angeles faced third-and-4 from Minnesota’s 11-yard line and appeared in position to take the lead. But Anthony Harris turned the tide as his hit on Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp at the 1-yard line jarred the ball loose, and the safety recovered the fumble. The sequence was the closest the Rams would get to the end zone for the rest of the game.

Quote of the day

“That was big time. He made a heck of a play at the goal line. That’s seven points coming off the board there. You never know what happens if they go up 14-7 at the time.” — Vikings safety Harrison Smith on Harris’ forced fumble and recovery

Star(s) of the game

Credit the big boys for this one. While the focus entering the game was on the Rams defensive playmakers, the Vikings offensive line of Riley Reiff, Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, Joe Berger and Rashod Hill didn’t allow a single sack. They also paved the way as Minnesota ran for a season-high 171 yards on the ground, including 95 yards and two scores by Vikings running back Latavius Murray.

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Photo of the game

Adam Thielen was off to the races on this 65-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. The Vikings led by a touchdown with just over 10 minutes left when Thielen beat his man in single coverage and scampered down the field for his longest touchdown catch of the season.

Week 12

Thursday, Nov. 23

Vikings 30, Lions 23 at Ford Field

View exclusive images shot by the team photographer (IG: vikingsphotog) from the Nov. 23 game against the Lions.