Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) gets tackled by Detroit Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye (24) and strong safety Duron Harmon (26) during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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Cousins’ big day gets Vikings past Lions

Kirk Cousins passed for 405 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 37-35 season-ending victory over the host Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Alexander Mattison rushed for 95 yards on 21 carries and also caught three passes for 50 yards and another score. Justin Jefferson caught nine passes for 133 yards and set the NFL rookie record with 1,400 receiving yards on the season.

The Vikings (7-9), who were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, snapped a three-game losing streak. The Lions (5-11) finished their season with a four-game skid.

Matthew Stafford passed for 293 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions. Marvin Jones Jr. caught eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

Cousins threw three touchdown passes in the first half, lifting his club to a 21-16 lead.

Matt Prater’s 54-yard field goal midway through the second quarter gave Detroit a two-point lead before Cousins hit Chad Beebe on a 40-yard touchdown pass with four seconds remaining in the half. Beebe caught the ball near the 20 and two Detroit defenders collided, allowing him to break free.

Detroit regained the lead in the first minute of the second half. James Agnew’s 70-yard kick return set up Jones’ second touchdown reception, a 26-yarder after a defender slipped.

The Vikings got those points right back on their next possession. Mattison scored on a 2-yard run. A Harrison Smith interception set up a 23-yard Dan Bailey field goal to make it 31-23.

Detroit’s Adrian Peterson scored on a 2-yard run with 3:02 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion try failed, leaving the Lions down by two points at 31-29.

A roughing the passer call on 4th-and-goal allowed the Vikings to score again. Cousins scored on a 1-yard sneak as the Vikings built a 37-29 lead. Bailey missed the extra point.

An apparent 38-yard touchdown reception by Jones was nullified after review, as Jones was deemed to have not maintained control when he landed.

D’Andre Swift eventually scored on the drive with a 2-yard run to pull within 37-35, but Stafford threw an incompletion on the two-point conversion try. Minnesota then ran out the clock.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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