It’s eight wins and counting for the Vikings.
The offensive fireworks didn’t come with the same frequency that they have in some of those other wins, but the Vikings found enough of them to outlast the Falcons 14-9 for their 10th win of the season. That leaves them a half-game back of the Eagles for the top seed in the NFC pending the outcome of Philly’s Sunday night matchup with the Seahawks.
The final firework in Sunday’s win came when Case Keenum hit Adam Thielen for a 22-yard gain on a third down with just under four minutes left on the clock. That hookup moved the Vikings into field goal range a play after the Falcons used their final timeout. Two Latavius Murray runs provided another first down that eliminated the need for more points and allowed Keenum to take a knee after the two minute warning.
Keenum’s strong season continued as he went 25-of-30 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. His first scoring throw went to Jerick McKinnon in the first half and he capped a drive of more than eight minutes with a toss to Kyle Rudolph on the first play of the fourth quarter. Keenum hit nine different receivers over the course of the afternoon and Murray chipped in 76 yards on 16 carries for a balanced attack that went perfectly with their unyielding defense.
Matt Ryan finished the day 17-of-30 for 173 yards and Julio Jones was limited to two catches for 24 yards to end a recent run of strong play from the Falcons offense. Their first drive of the second half ended with a field goal, but they punted twice around the long Vikings touchdown drive and Matt Bryant missed a field goal in the fourth quarter that would have put a bit more pressure on Minnesota as time wound down.
They’ll need to bounce back in a hurry as Thursday brings a visit from the Saints and two straight losses would be a severe blow to their playoff hopes. The Vikings will head to Carolina next Sunday for another date with a team vying for the NFC South crown before returning home for two of their final three games of the regular season.