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Jim Souhan

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan rapid reaction: Only the result matters as Vikings shut down Detroit

The Vikings won a game on Sunday in Detroit, and little about the game mattered other than the result.

The defense shutting down the Lions? Who doesn’t. They haven’t score more than 22 points in a game since Oct. 21, and that was against Miami.

The offense emerging from an inept quarter-and-a-half to produce 24 points? Well, the Vikings wouldn’t have seemed so productive if not for a Hail Mary touchdown at the end of the first half.

The details don’t matter much at this time of the year, though, because the Vikings have entered the portion of the season in which only math matters.

They are 8-6-1 with a chance to clinch a playoff spot next Sunday at home against a Chicago team that may or may not care about that game. After a season that has included a tragic death, a midseason coordinator change and failures against good teams, the Vikings remain in position to make something of the 2018 season.

And they’re moving forward with a playmaking tight end named Kyle Rudolph, who produced his first 100-yard receiving game since 2016 and broke a career-worst streak of 11 games without a touchdown catch.

 

He caught two on Sunday, the first a 44-yard Hail Mary that turned an embarrassing first half for the offense into a 14-9 halftime lead. He finished with eight catches for a career-high 121 yards. He is the second Vikings tight end to produce three 100-yard receiving games in his career. Joe Senser produced four.

Jim Souhan’s podcasts can be found at TalkNorth.com

 

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Souhan postgame reaction: Vikings in great shape for playoffs

This is a rapid reaction post filed at the end of the game. My column will be in the morning paper and online at StarTribune.com

For all of their problems, for all of the upheaval surrounding their firing of an offensive coordinator in December, the Vikings are in remarkably good shape, if making the playoffs is your goal.

With their 41-17 victory over Miami on Sunday, they likely will need only a victory against a battered Detroit team next Sunday to make the playoffs.

While they scored 41 points on Sunday against the NFL's 28th-ranked defense, it was the Vikings' defense that dominated once the game got close. After scoring touchdowns on their first three drives, the Vikings' offense went into a lull.

When Kalen Ballage ran 75 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, this apparent blowout was at 21-17, Vikings.

The Dolphins wouldn't score again. The Vikings would finish with nine sacks for 71 yards, helping them overcome Kirk Cousins' latest pick-six.

Dalvin Cook would finish with 19 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

Mike Zimmer wanted the Vikings to run the ball. It helps when those runs work right away.

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You can find my podasts at TalkNorth.com