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Jim Souhan

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan postgame: Vikings needed a game like this one

This is my quick-reaction blog following the game. My full column will focus on Danielle Hunter’s big day and be available in the paper and at startribune.com.

The Vikings needed a game like this - a laugher, an opportunity to coast, a chance to go into the bye feeling good and looking like a contender.

Thanks to the Vikings’ defense and the Detroit Lions’ ineptitude, the Vikings never looked pressured on Sunday, beating Detroit, 24-9, while the Lions looked like they desperately missed Golden Tate.

 


The Lions traded away their best run-after-catch receiver last week, and without him quarterback Matthew Stafford looked helpless. The Vikings’ pass rush dominated the game and helped the Vikings enter the bye at 5-3-1, with a week to rest before facing Chicago, Green Bay, New England and Seattle.

Give Vikings coach Mike Zimmer credit. He never let Stafford set his feet, never let Stafford test the Vikings’ beat-up secondary.

And take credit away from rookie Lions coach Matt Patricia, who did not give Stafford a chance to make plays. Had Stafford had more time in the pocket or more receivers available to him quickly, he may have have spent the day on his back, and the Vikings might not be near the top of the NFC North entering the bye.

Souhan rapid reaction: Not always pretty, but Vikings win

East Rutherford, N.J.

This is a quick reaction post. My column will post later on startribune.com and be in the Monday newspaper, and will highlight Adam Thielen.

There was wind. There was ugliness, and sloppiness. And by the end of a chilly day at MetLife Stadium, the Vikings had scored 37 points, had won going away, and had secured a piece of an NFL record for Adam Thielen.

Good teams tend to win as a matter of habit, and the Vikings have been forming one of late, as they exhibited with their 37-17 victory over the Jets on Sunday.

The Vikings have won three straight heading into their showdown with New Orleans next Sunday night, moving to 4-2-1 on the season and moving into first place in the NFC North.

Thielen reached 100 receiving yards for the seventh time in his first seven games this season, matching Charlie Hennigan’s NFL record to start a season, set in 1961.

With Latavius Murray running for two touchdowns and Kirk Cousins avoiding interceptions on a day that made passes wobble like confetti, the Vikings kept rookie quarterback Sam Darnold off balance and survived another rash of injuries, including one to Xavier Rhodes’ leg.

Thielen took a shot to the jaw late in the game, spat blood on the sideline, but returned. He had already tied the record. He can make it his own against New Orleans on Sunday.

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