Vikings race out to 29-0 lead, hang onto beat Steelers 36-28

Vikings move record to 6-7

The Minnesota Vikings got out to a 29-0 lead, then had to hang on until the last play of the game to get a 36-28 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and improve to 6-7 on the season, keeping their NFC Playoff hopes alive for another week.

With three seconds to play, Ben Roethlisberger was looking for Pat Freiermuth in the end zone between two Vikings’ defenders. Freiermuth briefly had it, then Xavier Woods forced the ball out with a big hit as time expired. It was a game the Vikings had to have, with their playoff chances fading and pressure mounting around Mike Zimmer’s job status.

Dalvin Cook, who worked feverishly back from an injured shoulder 11 days, ago had 27 carries for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the win. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry. Justin Jefferson had seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown, and KJ Osborn had three catches, including a 62-yard touchdown.

Kirk Cousins was 14-of-31 passing for 216 yards and two scores, but also threw two interceptions.

The Vikings’ defense allowed 66 total yards and sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times in the first half, before things got interesting over the final 30 minutes. Roethlisberger led the Steelers on three straight scoring drives in the second half to cut a 29-0 deficit to 29-20 with 12:11 to play in the fourth quarter.

Cousins answered, hitting Osborn for the long touchdown and a 36-20 Vikings’ lead. The Steelers answered back, with Roethlisberger hitting Freiermuth for a 3-yard touchdown with 4:14 to play. They added a two-point conversion, setting up more late-game dramatics.

Roethlisberger finished 28-of-41 passing for 308 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. Najee Harris had 20 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Thursday marked the 10th game this season that’s either ended in a one-score game, or come down to the final play.

The Vikings (6-7) now get a mini bye week, off until traveling to play the Chicago Bears Dec. 19.


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