June 21, 2024


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Vikings Defense Steps Up in Miami, Minnesota Wins 24-16

Vikings Defense Steps Up in Miami, Minnesota Wins 24-16

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) celebrate victory at the end of the second half of the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the first five weeks of the NFL season, fans have been waiting for the Minnesota Vikings defense to step up and make their presence felt. That’s exactly what happened in Miami on Sunday as the Vikings won 24-16 on the road, and they now head into their bye week 5-1. They have not started a season 5-1 since 2016.

Though Skylar Thompson started the game for the Dolphins, he left early on with a hand injury, which allowed Teddy Bridgewater to come in and take snaps. Overall, Bridgewater played well, passing for 323 yards and a pair of touchdowns. However, the Dolphins also turned the ball over three times throughout the afternoon, and the Vikings pass rush recorded seven sacks on the day. The trio of Danielle Hunter, Patrick Jones II, Za’Darius Smith each had a pair of sacks.

Additionally, the Vikings got another outstanding game from Patrick Peterson on the defensive side of the ball. He recorded multiple pass defenses throughout the game, and he snatched a key interception to shut down some last-minute heroics from Miami. In fact, the veteran Vikings secondary seemed to turn back the clock across the board as Harrison Smith also had an interception.

On the other side of the ball, though, the Vikings offense seemed to sleepwalk through the first half of the game. Neither team scored in the first quarter, and each of the Vikings first four drives ended in three-and-outs. However, breakout plays helped spark a few long drives that led to touchdowns. Justin Jefferson recorded a pair of 20-yard receptions on Minnesota’s first touchdown drive, a connection between Kirk Cousins and Irv Smith. After that touchdown, the Vikings never trailed for the rest of the game.

Jefferson finished the afternoon with six receptions and 107 yards. For the first time in his career, he’s recorded 100+ receiving yards in three consecutive games. After the touchdown, Greg Joseph hit a 34-yard field goal to take Minnesota into halftime leading 10-3.

Once again, the offense started the second half slowly, and neither team recorded points in the third quarter. Minnesota has now scored just six points in the third quarter through six weeks. This could be something to monitor moving forward.

The fourth quarter, though, as all Vikings games do, turned interesting as the two sides exploded for a combined 27 points. The second Vikings touchdown of the quarter came as a result of a 53-yard rush from Dalvin Cook. This was a particularly special score as Cook played his first NFL game in his hometown of Miami, and that touchdown put the Vikings up 24-10, ultimately sealing the win.

The Vikings (5-1) now have a week off as they prepare to host the Arizona Cardinals (2-3). Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins (3-3) look to finally end their three-game skid as they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4).

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.