If there were any questions before today’s game, the Minnesota Vikings may have finally answered them. With a dominating 24-7 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Rams, the Vikings have established themselves as a legitimate contender to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLII in February.
The Viking offensive attack was balanced throughout as they put the Rams’ defense on their heals in the second half. Quarterback, Case Keenum, continued his career year by going 27 of 38 for 280 yards and a touchdown. Receiver, Adam Theilen, also had a big performance with six catches for 123 yards, including a 65-yard, catch-and-run for the touchdown. Today belonged to running back, Latavius Murray. He pounded the Rams’ defensive front for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, with Jerrick McKinnon adding 48 more yards on 14 carries.
The Viking defense put together their most dominant performance all season, and did it against the league’s top scoring team. The Vikings neutralized Rams’ running back, Todd Gurley, after he scored their only touchdown on the Rams’ opening possession. He was limited to just 37 yards and that score on 15 carries.
The Vikings pass defense was also on point this week after a down week versus Washington last week. They harassed Rams’ quarterback, Jared Goff, all day and held him to 23 of 37 for 225 yards while getting two sacks and multiple hits throughout. The Vikings also recorded the lone takeaway of the game as safety, Anthony Harris, forced and recovered a fumble on Rams’ rookie, Cooper Kupp, just before he could cross the goal line, shifting the momentum of the game into the Vikings favor from that time forward.
Latavius Murray and the entire offensive line gets the nod here. Murray’s performance today helped to re-establish him as one of the leagues best goal line runners. He’s beginning to look more and more like the back the team thought they were getting when they signed him in the spring.
The offensive line wasn’t at their best today, but what gets them the recognition here is the attitude displayed today. This line played with a swagger against a great Rams defensive front and it finally came to the surface. When your offensive linemen start jawing with the defensive linemen in this kind of a game, you know they’re feeling that confidence.
Kai Forbath had an off day today, no doubt about it. After missing only once through 23 attempts, he missed two of three today. Fortunately, neither came back to bite the Vikings today. Likely not much to panic over just yet.
Play of the Game
As was mentioned earlier, Anthony Harris’s strip on Rams’ receiver, Cooper Kupp, not only saved a touchdown but completely shifted the momentum of the game. The Rams’ offense would never recover from that, while the Vikings grew stronger as the game went on. Eventually, the Rams’ defense collapsed down the stretch and allowed the Vikings to break the game wide open in the second half.
The Minnesota Vikings will begin the first of three straight road games with a visit to the division rival Detroit Lions. The Lions beat the Vikings 14-7 in Week Four at US Bank Stadium, the Vikings only home loss this season. The Lions are 6-4, but have been mostly up and down. They’ve won the past three meetings between these two ball clubs, all by a touchdown or less. The Vikings will look to end that streak on Thanksgiving Day, their second straight such game.
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– Clayton R. Brooks II writes for cover32 and covers the Minnesota Vikings. Like and follow @ClaytonRBrooks2. Like and follow vikings32 on Facebook, and Twitter.