View game action photos between the Vikings and Rams during the Week 16 matchup at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Minnesota's control of its own playoff destiny slipped through its grip with a 30-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings defense forced turnovers and perplexed Matthew Stafford but allowed consistent chunks on the ground.
The offense moved the ball at times but missed some opportunities in the red zone.
Special teams lost the field position battle at multiple junctures and surrendered a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown by Brandon Powell that made it 20-10 with 7:06 left in the third quarter.
Add that all up, and Minnesota fell to 7-8 on the season. The Vikings were knocked from the seventh and final spot of the NFC Playoffs with two games remaining.
The Rams improved to 11-4 on the season and jumped above the Cardinals for the lead in the NFC West.
Stafford was limited to a passer rating of 46.8, going 21-of-37 passing for 197 yards with one score and three interceptions.
Anthony Barr picked off Stafford twice, becoming the first Vikings player with two picks in a game since Antony Harris in Week 1 of the 2019 season.
Barr did so in front of very special guests — families that he's helped through his Raise the Barr foundation who were hosted in a Turf Suite by Verizon.
Xavier Woods recorded the other interception of Stafford, who still managed to connect with Cooper Kupp 10 times for 109 yards.
Sony Michel rushed 27 times for 131 yards and the first score of the game, helping L.A. total 159 rushing yards.
The Rams allowed just 66 yards on the ground, with Alexander Mattison finishing with 41 yards and a score on 13 carries while filling in for Dalvin Cook.
Kirk Cousins finished 27-of-38 passing with 315 yards, a touchdown and a costly interception. His passer rating ended at 93.6 but was lower for much of the game. Cousins completed 11 of 16 passes but only totaled 89 yards in the first half and was intercepted in the end zone to halt Minnesota's second possession of the game.
Justin Jefferson led Minnesota with eight catches for 116 yards, and K.J. Osborn added 68 yards and a score on five catches. Adam Thielen returned to the lineup for the first time since Week 13 at Detroit. He grinded through an ankle injury but finished with three catches for 40 yards.
Q1, 7:13 remaining
Rams 7, Vikings 0
Sony Michel rushes for 1 yard (Matt Gay kicks PAT) [12 plays, 70 yards, 5:44 time of possession]
Finished what he started: Michel took the first two carries of the drive, gaining 8 and 2 for a quick first down. He ended it with runs of 6 and 1 for the early lead.
Q2, 6:37 remaining
Rams 10, Vikings 0
Gay kicks 32-yard field goal [10 plays, 56 yards, 5:31 time of possession]
Allowance on the ground: Michel accounted for 43 yards on five carries, but Minnesota's pass defense forced an incompletion on third-and-3 from the 14-yard line with Cameron Dantzler in coverage of Odell Beckham, Jr.
Q2, 2:34 remaining
Rams 10, Vikings 3
Greg Joseph kicks a 23-yard field goal [4 plays, 7 yards, 1:28 time of possession]
Some points off the turnover: The Vikings started at the Los Angeles 11-yard line after an interception by Anthony Barr, but Minnesota lost ground immediately by allowing a sack by Greg Gaines for a loss of 7. Garrett Bradbury was flagged for tripping, but the Rams declined the penalty to take the sack yardage and loss of down.
Q2, 0:11 remaining
Rams 13, Vikings 3
Gay kicks a 31-yard field goal [13 plays, 62 yards, 2:23 time of possession]
Another stop: The Rams efficiently moved the ball to the Minnesota 13-yard line with 29 seconds remaining, but the Vikings forced three consecutive incompletions. The first came oh-so-close to an interception in the red zone. Patrick Peterson broke it up, and it bounced off Harrison Smith and just out of reach of Xavier Woods.
Q3, 11:01 remaining
Rams 13, Vikings 10
Alexander Mattison rushes for 2 yards (Joseph kicks PAT) [1 play, 2 yards, 0:06 time of possession]
Q3, 7:06 remaining
Rams 20, Vikings 10
Brandon Powell returns punt 61 yards (Gay kicks PAT)
Q3, 1:31 remaining
Rams 20, Vikings 13
Joseph kicks a 24-yard field goal [12 plays, 83 yards, 5:35 time of possession]
Q4, 11:37 remaining
Rams 27, Vikings 13
Odell Beckham, Jr., catches a 7-yard pass from Matthew Stafford (Gay kicks PAT) [11 plays, 75 yards, 4:54 time of possession]
Extensions: Officials ruled Cooper Kupp's forward progress had stopped before the ball was knocked from his hands for a gain of 8 to the Minnesota 43. Head Coach Mike Zimmer wanted to challenge, but forward progress is not reviewable. The Rams later converted a third-and-7 with a 12-yard pass to Tyler Higbee before striking with the score on third-and-goal.
Q4, 8:21 remaining
Rams 27, Vikings 20
K.J. Osborn catches a 6-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Joseph kicks PAT) [7 plays, 75 yards, 3:16 time of possession]
Crisp and clean: Cousins was 6-for-6 with 74 of the yards on the possession.
Q4, 2:03 remaining
Rams 30, Vikings 20
Gay kicks a 24-yard field goal [13 plays, 69 yards, 6:18]
Three of four: The Rams converted three of four third downs before adding points. L.A. picked up a third-and-6 with a 37-yard completion to Kupp after Mackensie Alexander got tripped up during the route. The Rams also converted third-and-1 with a 3-yard run and a third-and-4 with a 7-yard pass.
Q4, 0:32 remaining
Rams 30, Vikings 23
Joseph kicks a 44-yard field goal [8 plays, 49 yards, 1:31 time of possession]