The Minnesota Vikings’ win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Sunday wasn’t pretty. Offensively they struggled early in the game and then put the clamps on Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense in the second half. But nobody cares about style points.
Head coach Mike Zimmer was impressed with his team winning a game they couldn’t afford to lose.
“It was a good game, a good gut check game, I thought,” Zimmer said. “There was a lot of times we could have not end up winning the football game but we fought like crazy.”
The Vikings started out slow in Sunday’s must-win game. With 4:05 remaining in the second quarter, they trailed the Lions 9-0 and had three-and-outs ion their first four drives.
They scored touchdowns the following two times they touched the ball, one came on an eight-play, 69-yard drive that was highlighted by a 40-yard pass on third-and-17 to Adam Thielen, the other TD came via a Hail Mary at the end of the first half.
In the second half, they came out rolling with 11-play and nine-play scoring drives.
Zimmer said a halftime adjustment helped the offense get rolling.
”I told [interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski] at halftime that they were loading up pretty good in the running game, don’t be afraid to come out here and hit some play-action passes,” Zimmer said. “So the first two plays out of the half were play-actions and we got some good gains on them and the run game started loosening up and we looked a lot more like ourselves.”
On the defensive side, the Vikings continued to dominate. Despite having bad field position for most of the first half, they slowed down the Lions in the red zone and shut out Matthew Stafford and Detroit in the second half.
”We’re playing good on defense,” Zimmer said. “I didn’t think we played great today on defense, I thought we played good, I thought we played solid. We had some tackles for losses and things like that helped.”
A win by the Philadelphia Eagles against the Houston Texans now puts the Vikings in a position to reach the postseason with a victory over the Bears (or Eagles loss) in Week 17.
“Win and in, that’s how it is,” Zimmer said. “We’re OK with that.”