LOS ANGELES — The Vikings offense moved up and down the field Thursday night, making one highlight-reel play after another as the yards came in chunks.
But after a hard-fought 38-31 loss to the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, all that was left was frustration.
“We kept fighting and trying to do our part. Obviously, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to put up more points than the opponent,” said Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. “We didn’t do that, so we didn’t play well enough on offense to win.”
Added Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs: “The only numbers that matter are not a number. It’s a letter, a ‘W.’ ”
The Vikings lamented a final drive that saw them fumble away a chance to tie the game.
Minnesota trailed by a touchdown with just over two minutes left in a seesaw battle. The Vikings got to midfield, but the ball was striped during a sack just before quarterback Kirk Cousins brought his arm forward to throw it. Aaron Donald recovered the ball to end the game.
“We had a chance to go down there and tie the game at the end,” said Vikings running back Latavius Murray. “We can’t turn the ball over. I think, collectively, we have to be better in that situation. Give them credit, they have a good defense.”
Before the lone turnover of the night, it was a near-flawless performance for the Vikings offense, which racked up 446 yards of total offense and hit a season-high in points.
Cousins completed 36 of 50 passes for 422 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 117.2.
Thielen had eight catches for 135 yards and a touchdown, and Diggs added 123 yards on 11 receptions.
Wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, signed as a free agent last week, had two catches for 33 yards — but made both of them count by finding the end zone on scores of 16 and 17 yards.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph had five catches for 57 yards while wide receiver Laquon Treadwell had four receptions for 47 yards.
Cousins, who spread the ball around to nine different receivers in all, threw for the fifth-most yards in his career.
“I think Stef and Adam are rock stars, and Rudy does some really, really good stuff,” Cousins said. “Dalvin [Cook is] an incredible talent, Latavius does a really good job, we even got our rookie running backs in there a little bit.
“We got Aldrick the ball, as well. LT made some plays,” Cousins added. “So we try to spread it around, be very multiple and let those guys make plays for us.”
Cousins hit Robinson for Minnesota’s first two touchdowns before he found Thielen for a 45-yard score late in the third quarter.
With Vikings kicker Dan Bailey adding three field goals, Minnesota’s offense was humming.
The Vikings converted on half of their first downs (eight of 16 attempts), averaged 6.3 yards per play and picked up 25 total first downs — the same number as the Rams offense.
Minnesota’s offense went toe-to-toe with Los Angeles’ high-octane attack in a game that saw both offenses combine for 1,002 yards.
“The offense played well,” said Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. “I thought Kirk played good, Diggs played well.
“All the guys made plays tonight,” Zimmer added. “That was good.”
Cook made his return to the lineup and rushed for yards on 10 carries, but it was Cousins who led the team in rushing with 28 yards on four attempts.
Minnesota bounced back from a poor effort against the Bills to hang with one of the NFL’s top teams on the road on a short week on national television.
But the offensive outburst wasn’t enough as the Vikings fell to 1-2-1 on the season.
A frustrated yet explosive offense will now look to continue its success on the road in Week 5 against the Eagles.
But for as much as that gaudy statistics are nice, the one stat the Vikings care about is the win column.
“There will be a tremendous sense of urgency,” Cousins said. “We’ll have an edge to us in our preparation, have an edge to us during that game.
“They’re the defending world champs, we’re playing them at their place, they reloaded and added some talent,” Cousins added. “It’s going to be a challenge. But that’s really what this league is all about.”
Added Diggs: “We’ve got to move on. We’ve got another game next week. Regroup, rejuvenate, refocus, and let’s go get a ‘dub’ next week.”