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Stats That Stood Out: Vikings-Lions in Week 17

The Vikings wrapped the 2020 NFL season on Sunday with a 37-35 win over the Lions in Detroit.

Justin Jefferson broke Randy Moss' franchise record for rookie receiving yards before topping the NFL mark set by Anquan Boldin in 2003. Jefferson totaled 133 yards on the day to finish with 1,400 on the season.

In addition to Jefferson, Kirk Cousins distributed the ball throughout the offense, involving running backs, fullback C.J. Ham, tight ends and receivers in Minnesota's aerial attack. Cousins passed for 405 yards and three scores.

The defense benefited from Harrison Smith's 28th career interception and forced incompletions on a pair of 2-point conversion passes. The first would have tied the game at 31 in the third quarter, and the second would have tied the game at 37.

Here are three stats that stood out presented by GEICO:

1. Incredible YAC

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said the sight of Chad Beebe bouncing off Lions defensive backs Justin Coleman and Darryl Roberts before running past a surprised Jefferson reminded him of the "Minneapolis Miracle."

The 40-yard touchdown was scored with just four seconds remaining in the first half, giving Minnesota a 21-16 edge at intermission.

The stakes were much lower than the playoff game from nearly three years ago, but it was still "incredible" in terms of yards after the catch.

According to Next Gen Stats, Beebe gained 22 yards after the catch when he was only expected to gain 2. The surplus of 20 was the sixth-highest in the NFL in Week 17.

Detroit's Marvin Jones, Jr., also had an incredible YAC play. He gained 19 yards after the catch on a 38-yard reception, which was 13 yards more than expected (12th-most in the NFL in Week 17).

2. Remarkable rushes

Former Viking Adrian Peterson recorded the fastest speed of any ball carrier in the game.

According to Next Gen Stats, Peterson topped out at 20.88 miles per hour on his 38-yard run to open the second quarter, the 12th-fastest speed by any ball carrier in Week 17.

Peterson also qualified for a "remarkable rush" by gaining 32 more yards than expected on the play, which was the ninth-highest above expectation on Sunday.

Vikings running back Alexander Mattison turned in a strong performance with 95 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards while filling in for Dalvin Cook. Mattison caught a 28-yard touchdown and rushed for a 2-yard score. According to Next Gen Stats, the second-year pro gained 16 more yards than expected (19th-most in Week 17) on his 20-yard run in the second quarter.

According to Next Gen Stats, Cousins had an aggressiveness percentage of 2.5, which was well below his season average of 16.1.

Aggressiveness percentage tracks the number of passing attempts into "tight coverage" with a defender 1 yard or less from a receiving target at the time of a completion or incompletion.

Multiple Vikings were getting open, and Cousins was finding them, as illustrated in the graph below of receivers and tight ends.

View photos of the Vikings in "Big Head Mode" following the 37-35 victory over the Lions at Ford Field in the 2020 season finale.

3. Finding open teammates on way to 405

Cousins' 405-yard game involved connecting with six different teammates for more than 40 yards, the most in a game in franchise history.

He racked up his third-most prolific yardage total as a Viking by feasting on intermediate throws. Cousins was 9-of-11 passing for 198 yards with a touchdown on passes that were 10 to 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He also completed 14 of 20 passing for 172 yards and two scores on passes between the line of scrimmage and 10 yards beyond it.

Counterpart Matthew Stafford was a combined 13-of-18 for 168 yards with two touchdowns and one interception on throws between the line of scrimmage and 20 yards beyond it.

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