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5 Takeaways: Vikings Suffer Bitter OT Defeat to Ravens

BALTIMORE — The Vikings plane ride home will be a bitter one.

Minnesota did all it could on the road in Baltimore but ended up with an excruciating 34-31 overtime loss in Week 9.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker hit a 36-yard field goal with just 16 seconds left, dropping the Vikings to 3-5 on the season.

Minnesota has now lost two straight games after getting to .500 in Week 6 entering the bye. The Vikings played their third overtime game of the season and are now 1-2 in the extra frame.

The Vikings appeared to grab momentum in overtime with a stunning interception by linebacker Anthony Barr, who tipped a pass to himself for a pivotal takeaway.

But the Vikings offense gained just one yard on three plays on its only possession in overtime.

Baltimore then took the ball and marched down the field for the game-winning field goal.

The Vikings pushed the game to the extra period with a last-minute scoring drive.

Down 31-24, Minnesota marched 75 yards in 10 plays before Kirk Cousins hit Adam Thielen for a 1-yard touchdown pass.

C.J. Ham and Justin Jefferson both came up clutch on the drive. Ham hauled in a leaping 27-yard catch on third down to get the Vikings into Ravens territory, and then Jefferson moved the sticks with a 12-yard catch on fourth-and-9 from the Baltimore 16-yard line.

Minnesota's defense held firm on Baltimore's final offensive possession in regulation.

The Ravens got to midfield, but the Vikings were aided by a holding penalty. Kenny Willekes and Sheldon Richardson then split a sack on Lamar Jackson as the clock ran out.

But by the end, the Vikings defense was gassed as the Ravens offense was on the field for 46 minutes and 4 seconds. Minnesota controlled the ball for just 23:40 in the nearly 70-minute affair.

The Vikings are on the road again in Week 10 with a game against the Chargers.

Here are four other takeaways from Minnesota's Week 9 loss:

Nwangwu dazzles on special teams

A rookie provided a huge spark for the Vikings special teams in Week 9.

Kene Nwangu provided the juice to open the second half with a 98-yard kickoff return for a score. That increased Minnesota's 17-10 halftime lead to 24-10.

That play came on just Nwangwu's second career touch. His first was a 23-yard kickoff return in the first half.

Nwangwu's kickoff return for a touchdown is the first since Cordarrelle Patterson against the Cardinals during the 2016 season. He is the first Vikings rookie to return a kickoff for a score since Patterson against Green Bay in 2013.

The former Iowa State star, who was a fourth-round pick in April, dazzled on special teams again in the third quarter.

With Minnesota facing fourth-and-2 at its own 33-yard line, the Vikings snapped the ball to Josh Metellus, who handed the ball off to Nwangwu.

He scooted up the right sideline for a gain of nine yards to move the sticks, but Minnesota ultimately punted on the drive.

Bynum makes a splash

First career start, first career interception for Camryn Bynum.

The Vikings rookie safety — a fourth-round pick out of California this spring — made a splash play in his starting debut against the Ravens.

Bynum perfectly read a Lamar Jackson pass over the middle of the field and made a diving catch for his first NFL pick.

Bynum also made a heady play early in the fourth quarter when he picked up on a Ravens trick play. The rookie recognized the flea flicker and raced over to break up a pass intended for first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who played at Minnesota.

Bynum is the first Viking to intercept a pass in his first career start since Shaun Prater in 2013.

He got the start in place of Harrison Smith, who was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list about 90 minutes before kickoff.

Offense starts hot, Jefferson makes more history

The Vikings offense kept up a unique streak Sunday by scoring on the opening possession for the seventh straight game.

Minnesota scored touchdowns on its opening drive in Week 2, 3 and 4. Greg Joseph kicked field goals in Weeks 5 and 6, and Adam Thielen found the end zone in Week 8.

Jefferson got the party started with a 50-yard touchdown catch from Cousins, which registered as the second-longest score of his career.

The scoring play put the wide receiver, who entered the game with 1,963 career receiving yards, over the 2,000-yard mark in his career.

Jefferson hit that milestone in just his 24th career game and became the second-fastest player to reach 2,000 career receiving yards in the Super Bowl era. Odell Beckham, Jr., did it in 21 games.

Vikings defense has up-and-down day

There was some good, and some bad, from the Vikings defense Sunday in Baltimore.

The good: Minnesota's defense was solid overall on third downs, limiting the Ravens to just six conversions on 15 tries. The Vikings rebounded from a disappointing performance in Week 8 in this stat, as the Cowboys were seven of 14 on that down.

But the Ravens converted when it mattered, including a monstrous third-and-15 success on a wide receiver screen early in the fourth quarter that led to a tie game at 24.

Baltimore converted on both its third-down attempts. in overtime, running for three yards on third-and-1 and then 12 yards on third-and-2.

And even though Jackson tallied 100-plus rushing yards, Minnesota also kept him in check in terms of eliminating the big plays.

Yet it wasn't a perfect day for the defense, which gave up a late touchdown in the first half to continue a rough trend this season. Minnesota has now allowed an incredible 45 points in the final two minutes of the first half in eight games.

Minnesota got its hands on a few Jackson passes but couldn't come up with an interception.

The Vikings were also burned on fourth downs by the Ravens ultra-aggressive approach.

Baltimore converted on all three of its fourth-down tries. That included a fourth-and-1 call late in the third quarter in which the Ravens were at their own 27-yard line.