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Vikings Make Statement Drive with Rushing Attack

DETROIT — Talk about a statement drive.

When the Vikings started the second half at their own 25-yard line, it seemed like a blink of an eye before the offense was in the end zone.

But it wasn't chunk plays through the air that moved Minnesota down the field, it was four straight runs for 75 total yards that occurred in dominating fashion.

"It just worked out that way," said Vikings running back Latavius Murray. "(We) came off to the sidelines and said, 'We didn't even have to use any of our passes that drive.'

"I think that's how it worked out. The first one popped for a long one, and then Jet (Jerick McKinnon) had two really good ones to set up my score," Murray added. "There's a mentality when you're running the ball that well and they can't stop it."

Murray opened the second half with a bang, going for 46 yards through the left side of the line.

McKinnon then tallied a 16-yard run and an 11-yard gain on back-to-back plays that put the Vikings at the 2-yard line.

Murray did the rest from there, pounding his way into the end zone near the goal line.

"I just tried to trust it, stay in there and find a little space," Murray said of his long run. "Next thing I knew I was at the second level.

"We knew we needed to come out and start fast and put points on the board," Murray added. "It was a good way to start the half."

The drive punctuated another solid outing for Minnesota's rushing attack as the Vikings gained 136 rushing yards on the day, the eighth time in 11 games the offense has eclipsed the 100-yard mark as a team.

Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff, who returned to Detroit after spending the first five years of his career with the Lions, said Minnesota's offensive line was ready for a rough–and-tumble performance.

"We knew we were going up against a good team, and it's an NFC North game, so we had to run the ball," Reiff said. "Hat's off to Detroit. Their defense played good. Detroit plays everybody tough. They're a good team."

Vikings quarterback Case Keenum even got in on the action in the ground game, accounting for seven total rushes for 20 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown run.

"We had other options. It's always good to have options," said Keenum, who faked a handoff before scooting around the left side and breaking a tackle for the score. "It was a great call by [Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur] at the time and had some great blocking." 

The Vikings weren't perfect on the ground, as the Lions keyed in on the ground game after the impressive first drive of the second half to hold Minnesota to just seven rushing yards the rest of the way.

Even after a solid game running the ball, multiple Vikings said there was room for improvement.

"It's hard because that drive where we came out to start second half, that's the way we feel like we can go," right guard Joe Berger said o the first drive of the second half. "So when you stall a little bit, I think, especially for me, that's what I kind of dwell on a little bit, so it's good to get back and look at the film and see the good stuff because the bad stuff sticks in your mind a little bit."

But with Minnesota now sitting at 9-2 and with a three-game lead in the NFC North, the Vikings will make adjustments knowing there was plenty that worked out well Thursday afternoon.

"We knew this was an important game for that; we want to win the division," Murray said. "But at this point, we know we control everything that's in front of us.

"Each game gets more important, and we just want to keep finding ways to win. There's a lot of things we can learn from this game, a lot of things that didn't go right that we have to clean up," Murray added. "But as long as we're finding ways to win, it doesn't matter in the end how we got it done."

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