Vikings beat Raiders 3-0 as Jefferson hurt, Dobbs benched

Ben Goessling, Star Tribune on

Published in Football

LAS VEGAS — The Vikings ended their two-game losing streak, with a 3-0 victory over the Raiders. But they'll go home with a long list of concerns.

The game was the first to end with a 3-0 score since Nov. 26, 2007, when the Steelers beat the Dolphins, and the Vikings scored the only points of the day on their second drive with Nick Mullens after coach Kevin O'Connell benched Joshua Dobbs.

Dobbs finished the day 10 of 23 for 63 yards, while being sacked five times. After he threw a high shot for Justin Jefferson across the middle and Raiders safety Marcus Epps drilled Jefferson in the ribs, the receiver left the game. Jefferson was transported to a local hospital as a precaution. Until Mullens hit T.J. Hockenson for 26 yards on his first play in the fourth quarter, Jefferson remained the team's leading receiver for the day with two catches for 27 yards.

The Vikings finished the day without right tackle Brian O'Neill, who left because of an ankle injury, and running back Alexander Mattison, who was listed as questionable early in the second half because of an ankle injury but did not come back.

Why it happened: In a game that felt eerily similar to the Vikings' 12-10 loss to the Bears before the bye, their defense turned in an exemplary performance against Raiders rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell, holding Las Vegas to 173 yards for the day. The Vikings were the only team to attempt a field goal in the game, with Joseph missing wide right from 49 yards before he hit the game winner in the fourth quarter. Kevin O'Connell's decision to replace Dobbs with Mullens led to the only points of the day, and re-opened the quarterback decision for Saturday's game against the Bengals.


What it means: The Vikings remain in playoff position and regained a one-game advantage over two of the teams chasing them, after the Rams lost to the Ravens and the Seahawks fell to the 49ers. But between the quarterback question and injuries to Jefferson, O'Neill and Mattison, they've got lots to figure out in a short week before Saturday's game in Cincinnati, with three division matchups to follow after that. The Vikings are again in control of their own destiny in the NFC North after the Lions' loss, but they have enough of their own issues to solve that it's difficult to determine anything about their playoff hopes.

Play of the game: On the Raiders' first offensive play after Joseph's field goal to give the Vikings the only points of the day, Ivan Pace Jr. picked off Aidan O'Connell in the middle of the field, dropping into a zone and undercutting O'Connell's throw for Davante Adams. The rookie celebrated with a backflip, and the Vikings ran out most of the clock to seal the game.

Turning point: With the Vikings facing a third-and-6 from the Raiders' 42 in the fourth quarter, Mullens threaded a throw for Jordan Addison on an out route near the Vikings sideline. Addison made the catch, slipped under a tackle attempt and gained 22 yards to the Las Vegas 20. Joseph's 36-yard field goal won the game.

Next up: at Bengals, Saturday, noon

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