Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chandon Sullivan (39) celebrates after breaking up a pass intended for New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings aim to clinch NFC North, welcome Jets to town

Both the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings have a lot of similarities going into their first meeting in three years on Sunday.

Each team has been a pleasant surprise given how they’ve exceeded preseason expectations, and they also bounced back last week after scoring three points in disappointing losses in their previous games.

Given that, all signs are pointing toward an entertaining matchup when the Jets meet with the Vikings in Minneapolis.

The Jets enter 7-4 following a 31-10 home win over Chicago last week.

After tallying just one field goal in a 10-3 defeat the previous week at New England, Jets coach Robert Saleh benched starter Zach Wilson in favor of backup Mike White.

The decision paid off immediately, as the offense was rejuvenated under White, who threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Jets to a season-high 466 yards of total offense.

If White can continue to excel, that would be a great complement to a stout Jets defense that enters fourth in the NFL in points allowed, at 17.8 per game.

The main challenge for New York on Sunday will be trying to slow down Minnesota star wideout Justin Jefferson, who is second in the NFL in receiving yards (1,232) and third in receptions (81).

“I think any player relishes playing against the best,” Saleh said. “We’ve had some great challenges all year. We’ve had Miami’s group, Buffalo’s group, Cincinnati’s group. There’s been a lot of really good receivers we’ve had to go against. It’s another challenge for us. Knowing our secondary, they are ready to take that challenge on.”

The Vikings enter at 9-2 following a 33-26 home win on Thanksgiving night over New England, which was a nice rebound from an awful 40-3 loss at home to Dallas just four days prior.

There might still be six games left in the regular season, but the Vikings can clinch the NFC North title on Sunday with a win and a Detroit loss to Jacksonville.

Minnesota enters producing 23.8 points per game and allowing 23.4.

“We’ve got 11 games of inventory now,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said. “I think we are to the point in the season where you’ve really got to take a long look at what you’ve put on tape schematically (and with) tendencies. How can we maybe tweak and adjust our schemes to try and take advantage of some of the things we’ve put on tape? Maybe things people are game planning against us, while still trying to stay true to who we want to be at our core.”

The Vikings might be without offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a concussion. Harrison Smith was limited with an ankle injury.

Running back Michael Carter (ankle) was one of four Jets who did not practice on Wednesday along with safety Ashtyn Davis (hamstring). Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (ankle) was limited.

Minnesota is 3-0 this year against teams from the AFC East, having already won at Miami and Buffalo before beating New England at home.

The Jets have won both of their meetings against NFC North opponents, beating Green Bay on the road in Week 6 before beating Chicago last week.

The Jets lead the all-time series between the teams, 8-3.

–Field Level Media

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Keelan Cole (84) is defended by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings place CB Andrew Booth Jr. on injured reserve

The Minnesota Vikings placed rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. on injured reserve on Wednesday.

The move was expected following his knee surgery on Monday. NFL Network reported Tuesday that he would miss the remainder of the season.

Booth didn’t play in the Vikings’ Thanksgiving night win against the New England Patriots after sustaining the injury in the Week 11 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Booth, 22, totaled 12 tackles in six games (one start) after being selected by Minnesota in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Clemson.

Also on Wednesday, the Vikings activated tight end Ben Ellefson from injured reserve.

Ellefson, 26, has three catches for 26 yards in four games this season.

He has four receptions for 36 yards in 16 career games with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2020) and Vikings.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) meet on the field after the game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles, Vikings can clinch playoff spots this week

Clinching a spot in the playoffs is a realistic possibility for the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings entering Week 13.

The Eagles (10-1) and Vikings (9-2) play home games on Sunday with a shot at sealing a postseason bid with a month remaining in the regular season.

Philadelphia hosts the Tennessee Titans (7-4) and the Eagles are 4-0 this season against AFC teams. In addition to beating the Titans, the Eagles need a Washington Commanders loss to the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks loss to the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Clinching the NFC North is less complicated for the Vikings.

If Minnesota beats the New York Jets (7-4) and the Detroit Lions lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Vikings are division champions.

–Field Level Media

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) in the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders  at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Vikings CB Andrew Booth to undergo knee surgery

Cornerback Andrew Booth, the Minnesota Vikings’ second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, will undergo knee surgery on Monday, NFL Network reported.

He didn’t play in the Vikings’ Thanksgiving night win against the New England Patriots after sustaining the injury in the Week 11 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

The timeline for Booth to return to action won’t be known until the surgery is over. NFL Network reported that the procedure to be done won’t be determined until the surgery is in progress.

The Vikings (9-2) lead the NFC North despite a bucket full of injuries in the defensive backfield.

Akayleb Evans also sat out against the Patriots with a knee injury, Cameron Dantzler (ankle) is on injured reserve, as is Lewis Cine, who sustained a severe ankle injury in Week 4. Cine was the team’s No. 1 draft choice this year.

The Vikings took Booth, who played at Clemson, with the No. 42 overall pick in April’s draft. In six games this season (one start), he’s contributed 12 tackles.

–Field Level Media

Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) runs with the ball while New England Patriots safety Adrian Phillips (21) defends during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins, Vikings overtake Patriots in fourth quarter

Kirk Cousins threw for three touchdowns, including the game-winner to Adam Thielen, as the Minnesota Vikings earned a 33-26 win over the New England Patriots on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

Cousins, who capped the scoring with a 15-yard TD pass to Thielen with 9:34 left to play, completed 30 of 37 passes for 299 yards and an interception for the Vikings (9-2).

Justin Jefferson hauled in nine catches for 139 yards and a touchdown, and Dalvin Cook rushed 22 times for 42 yards.

Jefferson finished the night with 4,248 receiving yards, the most ever for a receiver in his first three NFL season. The old mark was set by another Viking, Randy Moss, who amassed 4,163 receiving yards from 1998-2000.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was also impressive, finishing with a career-high 382 yards and two touchdowns on 28-for-39 passing, as New England (6-5) saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.

Five Patriots receivers finished with at least 60 yards in what was a balanced passing attack.

Hunter Henry hauled in a 37-yard touchdown reception to close New England’s first drive of the second half, putting the Patriots up 23-16. However, that advantage lasted just 13 seconds, as Kene Nwangwu took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards to the end zone.

Henry seemingly caught another touchdown pass on New England’s next drive, but the ruling on the field was reversed, forcing the Patriots to settle for a 25-yard Nick Folk field goal.

Greg Joseph’s 36-yarder for Minnesota then made it 26-26 at the beginning of the fourth.

Late in the second quarter, Folk booted a 40-yard field goal to put New England up 13-10, but the Vikings responded. Cousins threw a 1-yard scoring strike to T.J. Hockenson, but Joseph missed the extra point.

New England then drove deep into Minnesota territory, and Folk’s kick was good from 23 yards out with three seconds left to send the teams into halftime with the score 16-16.

Minnesota carved up the Patriots’ defense on the opening drive of the game, using eight plays to move 80 yards for a 7-0 lead. Cousins closed the march with a 6-yard TD pass to Jefferson.

It didn’t take long for New England to respond, though, as it scored just 2:19 later when Jones connected with Nelson Agholor for a 34-yard touchdown. Folk added a 34-yard field goal later in the opening quarter.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and forces a fumble during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings hungry for holiday reset, host Patriots

If Marcus Jones hadn’t returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown with five seconds remaining in regulation last week, the New England Patriots may have found themselves in the same salty mood the Minnesota Vikings bring into their holiday meeting.

The Vikings (8-2) followed an overtime win over AFC heavyweight Buffalo with a 40-3 basting at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, leading them to eagerly shuffle into Week 12 preparation and a primetime date with the Patriots (6-4).

Despite recording just 10 points, New England still managed to pull off a 10-3 win over the Jets. The Patriots’ defense was suffocating, holding New York to just 2 yards total offense in the second half and 103 for the game.

New England has stirred up a winning recipe on defense. The Patriots allowed six points and 224 yards in the past two games, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick knows the Vikings pose a serious threat to that success.

“They’re really good,” Belichick said. “It starts with (Kirk) Cousins, outstanding quarterback, has had tremendous production throughout his career. Again, this year (Dalvin) Cook’s one of the top running backs in the league. They’ve got a wealth of talent at the skill positions and a lot of guys to stop. So yeah, they’re as explosive as anybody we’ve seen.”

Belichick credits a man he once interrogated in a job interview, Minnesota first-year coach Kevin O’Connell. The former quarterback first met Belichick as a pro prospect and passed that interview — he was drafted by New England in 2008.

“He’s done a heck of a job and climbed through the coaching ranks quickly,” Belichick said of O’Connell. “Based on the way the Vikings are playing this year, you could see why he’s done it. He’s done a great job.”

Minnesota converted just 1 of 11 third-down attempts and gained 183 total yards against the Cowboys. Cousins threw for 105 yards, wide receiver Justin Jefferson managed three receptions for 33 yards and Cook added 72 on the ground.

The Vikings’ offensive line, shuffled with left tackle Christian Darrisaw (concussion) exiting in the second quarter, couldn’t stop the Dallas pash rush and surrendered seven sacks. Darrisaw had a documented concussion in Week 10 before being cleared to play Dallas. He was already ruled out for Week 12.

“We’ve got to learn from this,” O’Connell said. “We’ve got to use this as an opportunity to grow as a football team and handle adversity the right way.”

Although it’s a short week, the Vikings are embracing it, and are looking forward to getting back out on the field to avenge the ugly loss against the Cowboys.

“We don’t like what happened (Sunday), but we have a chance to move on faster than normal,” Jefferson said. “We don’t have time to really think about the loss (or) have time to figure out what was going on. It’s a quick turnaround.

“We’re so glad that we can play Thursday, get this loss out of our minds and get back to where we would like to be.”

Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. missed Monday’s practice with a knee injury and linebacker Za’Darius Smith (knee) was limited.

Center David Andrews (thigh) missed the Patriots’ practice on Monday. Linebacker Josh Uche (hamstring), receiver DeVante Parker (knee), offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn (foot) and Jones (ankle) were limited participants.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) celebrate after the touchdown in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw (concussions) ruled out for Week 12

Minnesota Vikings left tackle Christian Darrisaw was ruled out of Thursday’s holiday date with the New England Patriots due to a concussion.

Darrisaw left the past two games with head injuries, and surrendered two QB sacks on Sunday to the Dallas Cowboys before leaving the game in the second quarter.

Darrisaw, a first-round pick in 2021, left the 40-3 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday in the second quarter. He left the game following a third-down sack allowed to Dorance Armstrong.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell said the Vikings won’t take any chances by playing Darrisaw on a short turnaround this week when Minnesota (8-2) plays the Patriots (6-4).

“My concern is just about CD. He’ll be in the protocol like he was last week,” O’Connell said. “He checked all those boxes going into [Sunday]. This is one of our best players, and we want him to have a long future.”

Blake Brandel, a Vikings sixth-round pick in 2020, is expected to start at left tackle against the Patriots. New England outside linebacker Matthew Judon leads the NFL with 13 sacks in 2022.

Darrisaw entered Week 11 as the highest-graded offensive lineman in the NFL as evaluated by Pro Football Focus.

On the one-on-one rep against Armstrong where the second concussion is suspected to have taken place, the left tackle and right defensive end appear to knock helmets and Darrisaw’s head jolts backward.

“There was actually an impact to his helmet, his head and neck area that caused him to be pulled out of the game,” O’Connell said.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) carries the ball during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys dominate Vikings in battle of NFC heavyweights

Dak Prescott threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns as the Dallas Cowboys ran away from the host Minnesota Vikings, winning 40-3 on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Prescott completed 22-of-25 passes for Dallas (7-3) and didn’t suffer any sacks in a near-perfect performance. He was bolstered by a rushing attack that saw Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott combine for 122 yards on the ground. Elliott had two rushing touchdowns, while Pollard hauled in six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the air attack.

Dalvin Cook led Minnesota (8-2) with just 72 rushing yards on 11 touches.

The loss for the Vikings snapped a seven-game winning streak. Kirk Cousins was ineffective in the passing game, totaling just 105 yards through the air while completing 12-of-23 passes.

Cousins fumbled away Minnesota’s opening possession when he was strip-sacked by Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons on third-and-3. The Cowboys flipped that Vikings turnover into a field goal to take an early lead.

Parsons finished the day with four solo tackles, two sacks and a team-best five QB hits. He now has 10 sacks on the season.

It marked the fifth game this season that Parsons had at least two sacks. The record for most multiple-sack games in a single season belongs to Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White, who had eight such games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1987.

After Minnesota’s field goal tied the game in the first quarter, Dallas responded with a touchdown, as Elliott punched it in from one yard out. It capped off a 10-play, 75-yard drive, and was the start of the Cowboys scoring 37 straight points.

During that outburst, Pollard scored on passing plays covering 30 yards and 68 yards, the second of which provided a 30-3 lead early in the third quarter.

The win for Dallas featured a 60-yard field goal from kicker Brett Maher, which came at the end of a five-play, 44-yard drive to end the first half. For his career, Maher is now a perfect four-of-four in field goal attempts from 60 yards or longer. He holds the NFL record for the most made field goals from that distance in NFL history. No other kicker has more than two.

Maher made four field goals Sunday, also connecting on kicks from 27, 50 and 53 yards out.

–Field Level Media

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook gained 119 yards in an overtime win over the Bills.

With Cowboys staggered, Vikings vie for eighth consecutive win

The Minnesota Vikings are the NFL’s hottest team with seven straight wins, including a scintillating victory in arguably the best NFL game of the season.

The Vikings (8-1) find themselves listed as underdogs at home this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys (6-3) in Minneapolis. FanDuel and DraftKings list the Cowboys as 1.5-point favorites.

So does the perceived slight bother Minnesota coach Kevin O’Connell? Well, no.

In fact, he admitted Wednesday that he doesn’t listen to analysts on national television questioning if his team is a serious Super Bowl contender.

“I don’t hear because I don’t have a lot of time to take in the daily shows too much,” O’Connell said. “I will say this: At this point I know there needs to be some things to talk about. … If we focus on anything outside of our preparation for the Dallas Cowboys, I think I’d be doing a disservice to our team. And I think our players understand that as well.

“This thing has a way of playing out where I believe the teams that deserve to be talked about will be talked about in the end.”

People certainly are talking about Justin Jefferson, who received NFC Offense Player of the Week honors after recording 10 receptions for a career-high 193 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ 33-30 overtime win at the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

There is plenty of talk about Dalvin Cook, who rolled up a season-best 146 scrimmage yards (119 rushing, 27 receiving) and a rushing touchdown against Buffalo. He has six touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving) over his last five games.

“Well, we don’t listen to that anyway,” Cook said of whether his team is getting the respect its due. “We just look for preparation each and every week and go out and perform well. Blocking the outside noise out, they are gonna say what they are gonna say anyway — whether it’s good or bad.”

Cook will face a Cowboys defense that ranks 29th against the run (143.1).

Speaking of running backs, Ekeziel Elliott participated in Wednesday’s walk-through session. The two-time NFL rushing champion has been idle with a knee injury since scoring two touchdowns in Dallas’ 24-6 victory over the Detroit Lions on Oct. 23.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Wednesday that Elliott will play on Sunday if he’s ready to return. He also added that the quick turnaround time for Dallas’ game on Thanksgiving will not impact on the team’s decision to play Elliott on Sunday.

“If he’s ready to play this week, we’re going to play him,” McCarthy said.

Tony Pollard has fared well in Elliott’s absence, rolling up 131 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 49-29 win over the Chicago Bears on Oct. 30 and 115-1 in a 31-28 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday.

Dak Prescott threw for three touchdowns against Green Bay. He also tossed three touchdown passes in an encounter versus the Vikings in 2019, however he was unavailable to play due to injury in last year’s 20-16 victory in Minneapolis.

CeeDee Lamb, who had 112 receiving yards in last year’s game, totaled career highs in catches (11) and receiving yards (150) to go along with two touchdowns last week. He also has three touchdowns in his last two games after totaling two in his previous 14.

Dallas boasts an NFL-best 35 sacks. Minnesota’s Za’Darius Smith’s 9.5 sacks are second in the league.

Smith (knee) joined Jefferson (toe) in being limited in Wednesday’s practice for the Vikings. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (calf), offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (concussion) and cornerback Akayleb Evans (concussion) did not participate in the session.

As for the Cowboys, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (foot) was listed as a non-participant in Wednesday’s walkthrough session. Elliott, linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring) and cornerback Anthony Brown (concussion) were listed as limited.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs out of thr pocket against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings edge Bills on FG in overtime thriller

Patrick Peterson’s second interception for the Minnesota Vikings sealed a heart-stopping, 33-30 win in overtime against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.

The play concluded a wild game in which both teams appeared to win in the final minute of regulation. Buffalo (6-3) seemingly won when it stuffed Kirk Cousins short of the goal line on a fourth-down quarterback sneak.

But on the ensuing play, the Bills botched the snap and Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks recovered the ball on the goal line for a touchdown that gave Minnesota a 30-27 lead with 41 seconds left.

Buffalo recovered with a quick-strike drive directed by Josh Allen. Five plays produced 69 yards to set up Tyler Bass’ third field goal of the game, a 29-yarder with two seconds left that sent the game to overtime.

On the opening possession of overtime, Minnesota drove for a go-ahead field goal, a 33-yarder by Greg Joseph with 3:42 left. That proved to be the game-winner.

It was the seventh straight victory for the Vikings (8-1) and the second time in as many weeks that they rallied from a double-digit margin in the second half.

Buffalo led by 17 points in the second half before Minnesota rallied. After being stuffed all game, Dalvin Cook triggered the comeback with an electric 81-yard touchdown sprint. Cook finished with 119 yards rushing on 14 carries.

In the fourth quarter, with Buffalo going for a potential game-clinching touchdown on a fourth-and-2 play, Peterson intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it 39 yards.

Thirteen plays later, C.J. Ham scored on a 3-yard run to slice the deficit to 27-23. And it stayed that way as Joseph banged the extra-point attempt off the right upright.

Minnesota got the ball back and drove behind Cousins, who finished with 30 completions in 50 attempts for 357 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Justin Jefferson did his part as well, making a sensational one-handed grab for 32 yards on a fourth-and-18 play to keep the final drive of regulation alive. Jefferson finished with 10 receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown.

Until throwing his overtime interception, Allen had all the answers for Buffalo. He completed 29 of 43 passes for 330 yards and a touchdown. Allen also ran six times for 84 yards.

He showed no ill effects of his injured right elbow, which kept him out of practice all last week.

In the first quarter, Devin Singletary ran for two touchdowns as Buffalo took a 14-7 lead.

–Field Level Media