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5 Takeaways: Vikings Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with OT Victory

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings kept their playoff hopes alive in Week 13, even if it meant getting one of the ugliest victories of the season.

Minnesota squeaked out a 27-24 overtime win over Jacksonville on Sunday in a game that seemingly featured a little bit of everything.

Minnesota gave up another touchdown with its offense on the field, but the Vikings defense also stepped up with a safety and four takeaways.

The Vikings are now 6-6, and would either be one game back of, or tied with, the Cardinals depending on how Arizona fares against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon. That game was ongoing at the time of publishing.

The Vikings likely won't feel good about this one, as the team allowed the one-win Jaguars to rally for a late score and 2-point conversion to tie the game at 24.

View game-action images as the Vikings take on the Jaguars during Week 13 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Dan Bailey's 51-yard field goal try was wide left. Jacksonville then attempted a 62-yard field goal to win it, but that was also no good.

Credit the Vikings for getting a win with perhaps their best player on the sideline, as linebacker Eric Kendricks was a late scratch.

He popped up on the injury report with a calf injury on Thursday and appeared ready to go, but the injury apparently flared up before the game, and the All-Pro couldn't go.

Minnesota is now 3-4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2020, and improved to 5-1-1 in overtime games under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer since his hire in 2014.

Here are four more takeaways from Sunday afternoon:

1. Dantzler, Brailford shine on defense

A pair of youngsters stepped up in a big way Sunday, as Cameron Dantzler and Jordan Brailford each made a handful of big plays.

Dantzler snagged his first NFL interception midway through the second quarter, a clutch play considering Minnesota trailed 9-0 and Jacksonville was about to enter the red zone.

In the fourth quarter, Dantzler came up big yet again when he forced and recovered the first fumble of his career on a completion to Jaguars wide receiver Chris Conley.

Brailford did the same —forced and recovered the first fumble of his career — in his first NFL game. The defensive end, who was added to the 53-man roster in mid-October, also stepped up in a big way early in the fourth quarter.

Jacksonville had the ball at its own 4 when Brailford and Ifeadi Odenigbo combined to sack Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon for a safety. The half-sack was the first of Brailford's career.

2. An ugly 1st quarter

The Vikings weren't ready from the jump, as Minnesota trailed 9-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The Jaguars scored on both of their first two drives, getting a touchdown (the extra point was missed) and a field goal in the first 15 minutes.

Minnesota, meanwhile, struggled offensively early on. The Vikings punted on their first three drives as they totaled just 25 yards on those possessions.

The Vikings also lost the time-of-possession battle in the opening stanza, as Minnesota had the ball for just four minutes and 52 seconds. The Jaguars held the ball for 11:08.

3. More ups and downs on special teams

Much like the past few weeks, it was an up-and-down day for the Vikings special teams.

The good was that rookie K.J. Osborn, who was active after sitting out last week, tallied 21 yards on three punt returns. That included an 8-yard return in the third quarter, which was a career-best for the fifth-round pick. Osborn did fumble on a fourth-quarter return, but he recovered it.

Credit Minnesota's special teams for flipping the field in overtime, too. Britton Colquitt uncorked a 52-yard punt that was well covered by Dan Chisena, and the Jaguars were called for holding on the play.

The Vikings originally punted it away from their own 20, and the Jaguars began at their own 18.

On the flip side, the Vikings missed a pair of extra points Sunday. Bailey entered Week 13 having made 25 of 27 extra points in 2020, but doubled those misses against Jacksonville.

Bailey also missed a 51-yard field goal in the final minutes of the fourth quarter that could have given Minnesota a win in regulation.

4. Bad starts to each quarter … and OT

The first play of each quarter is just four total snaps over the course of the game.

But the first snap of each quarter stood out Sunday, and not in a good way for Minnesota. Here's a breakdown of all four plays:

1st quarter: Jaguars open the game with a 24-yard completion.

2nd quarter: Cook carries for just a yard.

3rd quarter: Pick-six by Kirk Cousins.

4th quarter: Cook/Cousins fumble it away on 1st-and-goal at the 1.

The struggles even continued into overtime, as Cousins was sacked on the first play from scrimmage in added time.