MINNEAPOLIS. In a game filled with highlights, the Minnesota Vikings defeated the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving night to win 33–26.

Both teams scored early in each half, including a thrilling Viking touchdown return on the Patriots’ score early in the second half.

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The Vikings are 9-2 this season, and the Patriots are down to 6-5.

Minnesota Vikings

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After one of the worst home defeats in team history, Viking did exactly what they wanted to do on Thursday night: walk away from it.

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Their victory over the Patriots made it much easier to weather the 37-point loss they suffered four days earlier to the Dallas Cowboys, which called into question whether they could be considered one of the best teams in the NFL.

By beating the Patriots, the Vikings recorded their second victory against a team that had won the last three games. If someone told you that the Vikings would beat the Patriots and the Buffalo Bills in three weeks, what would you say about them? A reasonable argument could be made that yes, they are one of the top five teams in the NFL.

Equally important, the Cowboys’ game, which wide receiver Justin Jefferson called “embarrassing” and “a total disaster”, is better seen as an aberration rather than a deep look into the future of the Vikings.

The Vikings will now have 10 days to prepare for their next game at home against the New York Jets as they move closer to the NFC North title and continue to challenge for the top spot in the NFC.

Describe the game in two words: Very close. The Vikings have led this game three times, lost twice, and tied the Patriots five times overall. Games like this rarely happen in the NFL. According to Sportzshala Stats & Information, it was only the second time in seven seasons that the score was tied on at least five separate occasions.

QB breakdown: Kirk Cousins ​​made a poor interception in the first quarter, a back-foot shot that went wide past receiver KJ Osbourne, but he avoided other major errors in this prime-time game. He finished with 30 completions, the most against the Patriots this season, on 37 attempts for 299 yards and two points. Most importantly, he skilfully led the Vikings to their game-winning touchdown with a perfect 36-yard pass to Jefferson before he found Adam Thielen open for a 15-yard count.

Main game: The returning Kene Nwangwu returned an opening 97 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, his first of the season after scoring twice as a rookie last season. The return responded to a Patriots touchdown in the previous game and tied the game at 23, an important emotional leap that allowed the Vikings to avoid a potential avalanche. The Patriots were one of the few teams to challenge Nwangwu this season. He came into the game with 19 returns all season as most teams kicked deep for touchbacks, but only against the Patriots did he have five returns.

Next game: vs. Jets (13:00 ET, Sunday)

New England Patriots

The Patriots’ fight in the red zone on offense is back to haunt them Thursday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

They were 0-for-3 inside the 20-yard line against the NFL’s last-rated red zone defense. Vikings were 3 out of 5.

Ball game.

There’s more to come, of course, but until the Patriots find the answers to turn these situations into points, that puts their playoff hopes in jeopardy. Quarterback McJones talked about trying to “flick the switch” in the red zone, but it didn’t work against the Vikings.

A close call in the third quarter, which was overturned on replay by referee Alex Kemp when Jones initially appeared to connect with tight end Hunter Henry for a touchdown, was a notable aspect of the team’s lack of production in the red zone.

Biggest hole in the game plan: This is similar to what happens to most teams that play for the Vikings – wide receiver Justin Jefferson’s cover. He crushed the Patriots (9 catches, 139 yards, 1 touchdown) and showed why he is one of the NFL’s elite pass catchers.

Describe the game in two words: Playoff caliber. Great vibe at US Bank Stadium and two teams pitted against each other.

QB breakdown: Jones had his best game of the season, especially in attacking the field. He was 5-of-5 for 153 yards and had two touchdowns on throws from 15-plus yards. In his first seven games this season, he had one full touchdown on 15-plus yards.

Promising trend: An incomplete line of attack — with left tackle Trent Brown, left guard Cole Strange, center James Ferenc, right guard Mike Onwenu and right tackle Yodni Cajuste — gave Jones the best pass defense he had all season. As a result, Jones looked like a different quarterback.

The subtle stats that matter: The Patriots allowed five first downs from penalties, their most in a game in the past three seasons. This is their highest result since the 11th week of 2019 in Philadelphia (also five).

Next game: vs Accounts (8:15 pm ET, Thursday)