3 takeaways from the Vikings’ Week 14 victory | Launderer report


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    The Minnesota Vikings almost invented a new way to lose Thursday night.

    The Vikings nearly exploded a 29-point lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers inside US Bank Stadium.

    A stalled attack and stunned defense put Minnesota in the precarious situation it faced until the last game of the game.

    Harrison Smith pulled off a massive pass break on a Ben Roethlisberger pitch to Pat Freiermuth to prevent the Steelers from having a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion.

    Smith’s saving play was one of the few notable second-half moments among a string of mistakes from NFC North, which took the lead against the Detroit Lions four days earlier.

    Minnesota conceded 28 points in 13 minutes to give Pittsburgh even a chance to complete their comeback.

    The poor second half eclipsed how dominant the Vikings looked in the first two quarters behind Dalvin Cook, who produced the first 200-yard rushing game in the NFL this season.

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    Harrison Smith may have made the most important game of the Viking season.

    The veteran security knocked the ball out of Pat Freiermuth’s hands in the end zone to keep the Steelers from coming within two points of Minnesota.

    Had the Steelers pulled off that pass and the two-point conversion that followed, the Vikings would have been on the brink of historic defeat.

    According to NBC Sports’ Warren sharp, the teams leading by 23 points or more at halftime had a score of 90-0 since 2014.

    Smith helped the Vikings avoid the humiliation of being the first team to lose in a situation like this for quite some time, and it kept the team at the heart of the NFC wildcard race.

    Minnesota moved up to 6-7 and are now in eighth place in the NFC wildcard race with a half-game between themselves and the two teams above.

    Now that the hard part is over, the Vikings must encourage the Dallas Cowboys to beat the Washington football team and the Cincinnati Bengals to defeat the San Francisco 49ers to put all three contenders at 6-7 before Week 15. .

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    Bruce Kluckhohn / Associated press

    Dalvin Cook did not appear to be running with a harness.

    Cook easily walked through the Steelers’ defense for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

    Minnesota’s top running back did what he wanted in the first half, having found the end zone twice. At one point, Cook had seven carries for 117 yards and one scoring.

    Cook made a few key points in the second half to set up a pair of goals from the field for Greg Joseph. He had an eight-yard run in Minnesota’s first practice in the third quarter, and his 15-yard run in the second set put the Vikings inside the 10-yard line.

    Minnesota gave Cook nine transfers in the fourth quarter, but they missed a few crucial moments.

    Kirk Cousins ​​had two incomplete passes on the third down that led to a punt, and he was intercepted once on the third down in the fourth quarter.

    If the Vikings passed the ball to Cook or Alexander Mattison in either of these situations, they could have run for more time and avoided some of the stress late in the game.

    Cook’s performance on the transfers he received was a promising sign for the Vikings if they were to rely more on him with injured Adam Thielen.

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    Stacy Bengs / Associated press

    The Vikings need to correct their late-game mistakes if they are to be competitive in a playoff game if they advance to the playoffs.

    Minnesota let the Steelers come back into the game too easily. The Steelers did whatever they wanted in the air for most of the second half.

    Ben Roethlisberger was barely standing in the first two quarters. Visitors had no response to what the Vikings threw at them, and it looked like Minnesota was on the way to an easy victory.

    The Minnesota high school allowed three passing touchdowns. The scoring connections between Roethlisberger and Najee Harris and Freiermuth were easy to win. Both players sprinted with ease into the corner of the end zone.

    James Washington’s 30-yard touchdown was harder to hit, but he still beat a few defensive backs on the ball.

    The cousins’ mistakes in the passing game compounded the problems in the second half. His two interceptions led to touchdowns in Pittsburgh.

    Minnesota has a few extra days to review their mistakes and correct them before their Week 15 Monday night with the Chicago Bears.

    If they don’t stumble like that again, the Vikings have the potential to advance to the playoffs and maybe even cause an upheaval with the offensive talent he possesses.

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