View game action images as the Vikings take on the Miami Dolphins at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings withstood a charge by the Dolphins early in the third quarter and ripped off 20 unanswered points thanks to a collective effort by the offense, defense and special teams for a 41-17 victory.
Minnesota improved to 7-6-1 on the season and knocked Miami down to 7-7 with two games to play in the regular season.
The final score allowed breathing room, but the game was plenty tight just 11 seconds into the second half after a 75-yard touchdown run by Kalen Ballage that made it 21-17.
The offense, led for the first time by interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, scored three touchdowns in the first quarter but were losing a bit of rhythm.
A quick three-and-punt to start the second half gave the ball back to the Dolphins, but Minnesota's defense and special teams provided a lift on the next sequence.
Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter sacked Ryan Tannehill on consecutive plays, creating a third-and-27.
Marcus Sherels uncorked a 70-yard punt return a play later, taking the ball all the way to the Miami 22.
Dan Bailey kicked a 36-yard field goal to put Minnesota up 24-17, and Miami lost 13 total yards the rest of the third quarter.
Bailey added a 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Kirk Cousins completed a 40-yard touchdown to Aldrick Robinson, and Dalvin Cook had a nifty spin move during a 21-yard touchdown that put the game away.
Cousins finished 14-of-21 passing for 215 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. His passer rating was 112.2.
Cook, a Miami native, had a career-high 136 yards and two scores on 19 carries. He also had a 27-yard reception.
Latavius Murray added 68 yards on 15 carries.
Rookie Tyler Conklin, who entered the game with 24 yards on three catches, led the Vikings with 53 yards on two catches.
Stefon Diggs had 49 yards on four catches, including a 13-yard touchdown.
Minnesota finished with 22 first downs, compared to 12 for Miami.
The defense limited the Dolphins to 2-for-12 on third downs and 193 net yards of offense.
Barr and Hunter each had 2.0 sacks. Eric Kendricks, Everson Griffen, Tom Johnson, Mackensie Alexander and Sheldon Richardson also sacked Tannehill, who finished 11-of-24 passing for 108 yards and with a passer rating of 59.0.
Hunter boosted his season total to 14.5 and his career total to 40, passing Alan Page's Vikings record for sacks in a player's first four pro seasons.
The Vikings dominated the first quarter, earning 12 first downs and outgaining the Dolphins 202 to 40 for a 21-0 lead.
Dalvin Cook rushed five times for 61 yards, and Latavius Murray added six carries for 36 yards. Cook also had a 27-yard reception on Minnesota's first pass play of the day.
Kirk Cousins opened 7-for-7 passing for 102 yards and a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the period.
The Dolphins, however, climbed back into the game in the second quarter.
Miami received a booster shot when rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown with 7:44 left in the first half.
The Dolphins added a 25-yard field goal by Jason Sanders with 14 seconds left in the first half. The kick ended a 14-play drive that lasted 6:03.
Q1, 11:40 remaining
Vikings 7, Dolphins 0
Stefon Diggs catches a 13-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins (Dan Bailey PAT) [6 plays, 76 yards, 3:20 time of possession]
Established the run: Minnesota rushed for 6, 6, 26 and 3 on its first four run plays, helping set up the play-action pass to Diggs.
Q1, 6:21 remaining
Vikings 14, Dolphins 0
Dalvin Cook rushes for a 13-yard touchdown (Bailey PAT) [6 plays, 60 yards, 2:59]
Turned the corner: Cook zipped to the left edge of the line and zoomed past cornerback Bobby McCain.
Q1, 1:32 remaining
Vikings 21, Dolphins 0
Latavius Murray rushes for an 18-yard touchdown (Bailey PAT) [7 plays, 70 yards, 3:38]
Explosive start and finish: The Vikings opened the drive with a 17-yard completion to Diggs before capping it with Murray's impressive scamper that had a similar path to Cook's.
Q2, 7:44 remaining
Vikings 21, Dolphins 7
Minkah Fitzpatrick returns an interception 50 yards for a touchdown (Jason Sanders PAT)
Sniffed it out: The Vikings were in a third-and-15 after a holding penalty and a false start and opted for a quick screen to Diggs, but the 11th overall pick of 2018 played beyond his experience in sniffing out the throw and had too much momentum for Diggs to catch him from behind.
Q2, 0:14 remaining
Vikings 21, Dolphins 10
Sanders kicks a 25-yard field goal [14 plays, 61 yards, 6:03]
Big conversion: The Dolphins were able to convert a third-and-10 with a 12-yard pass from Tannehill to Brice Butler.
Q3, 14:49 remaining
Vikings 21, Dolphins 17
Kalen Ballage rushes for a 75-yard touchdown (Sanders PAT) [1 play, 75 yards, 0:11]
Blocked the blitz: The Dolphins caught the Vikings in run blitz by Harrison Smith that was picked up by tight end Nick O'Leary, enabling Ballage to accelerate through the hole.
Q3, 8:40 remaining
Vikings 24, Dolphins 17
Bailey kicks a 36-yard field goal [4 plays, 4 yards, 1:19]
Special set up: A 70-yard punt return by Marcus Sherels enabled the Vikings to add to their lead, despite not getting a first down.
Q4, 13:01 remaining
Vikings 27, Dolphins 17
Bailey kicks a 34-yard field goal [9 plays, 57 yards, 4:35]
Third-and-short: The Vikings caught the Dolphins sleeping on a third-and-1, and Cousins found Tyler Conklin wide open for a 33-yard catch.
Q4, 9:54 remaining
Vikings 34, Dolphins 17
Aldrick Robinson catches a 40-yard touchdown from Cousins (Bailey PAT) [4 plays, 55 yards, 2:04]
Track speed: Robinson took advantage of Torry McTyer playing of the line of scrimmage and sped past the corner on the deep post. Cousins had a completely clean pocket to let the play develop and put the ball on the money.
Q4, 7:49 remaining
Vikings 41, Dolphins 17
Cook scores on a 21-yard rush (Bailey PAT) [1 play, 16 yards, 0:09]
Spin for the win: Cook reached his career rushing high on the 21-yard touchdown after spinning his way through contact.