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Vikings Outlast Lions in Meaningless, Entertaining Week 17 Shootout

Justin Jefferson made history, Kirk Cousins put up big numbers, and the Vikings are 7-9.


It might not have meant anything other than determining where these teams will pick in the draft, but the Vikings and Lions put together a wild, wacky, and highly entertaining Week 17 contest in Detroit on Sunday. Defense was optional, offense was plentiful, and the Vikings outlasted the Lions to win 37-35 and finish their 2020 season with a 7-9 record.

The big story from this game was young Vikings superstar Justin Jefferson, who passed Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin in rookie receiving yards, becoming the new NFL record-holder in the Super Bowl era. Jefferson finished the day with nine catches for 133 yards, meaning he ends his spectacular rookie season with exactly 1,400 receiving yards. No one in NFL history had ever previously done that as a 21-year-old.

This was also a massive game for Kirk Cousins. The Vikings’ polarizing quarterback struggled to begin the season, but has been playing quite well in the second half of the year and ended his personal campaign on a high note. Cousins went 28 of 40 for 405 yards and three touchdowns, adding a fourth TD on a QB sneak. More importantly, he finally broke out the Griddy, Jefferson’s signature dance.

After a slow start, the Vikings basically did whatever they wanted on offense. Cousins connected with eight different receivers for multiple completions, and Alexander Mattison ran wild while filling in for Dalvin Cook. Mattison finished with a career-high 145 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.

All in all, the Vikings racked up over 500 yards of offense against an abysmal Lions defense.

You’d think that kind of offensive performance would mean the Vikings won in a blowout, but their defense was similarly nonexistent. The Lions had over 400 yards of offense of their own and kept responding in what was a fast-paced, back-and-forth shootout affair. Marvin Jones dominated the Vikings for 180 yards and two touchdowns, while Vikings legend Adrian Peterson ran for a touchdown against his old team for the first time. Credit should be given to Matthew Stafford, who battled through several injuries to suit up in a meaningless game and played very well.

This game had everything: long touchdowns, missed kicks, and plenty of hilarious moments. In the end, the Vikings extended their winning streak against the Lions to seven games and enter the offseason on a winning note.

The Vikings will pick either 13th or 14th in the upcoming NFL draft.

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