NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 5 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 19, Detroit Lions 17

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs for a first down against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

A game that once felt like an inevitable grind-it-out victory for the Minnesota Vikings almost took a turn for the worse against the winless Detroit Lions.

But Vikings kicker Greg Joseph came through and provided 12 of the team’s 19 points from field goal range, including the game-winning 54-yarder as time expired to help the team survive a late Lions rally and win, 19-17, in Week 5.

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Minnesota Vikings


Kirk Cousins dropped back to pass 34 times, as head coach Mike Zimmer leaned on the ground game to do the bulk of the offensive work. While Cousins turned the ball over on a tip-drill interception, he still managed to have an efficient passing performance.

Player Comp. % Adj. Comp. % Big-Time Throws Turnover-Worthy Plays
Kirk Cousins 74.2% 89.7% 3 0
Running back

It was Alexander Mattison’s second time in three weeks rushing over the century mark, and he finished with a pending 73.6 rushing grade. Mattison racked up 114 yards rushing after contact, four rushing first downs and six missed tackles forced on 4.6 yards per carry. It was almost all for naught, as the back lost a late fumble prior to the two-minute warning that allowed Detroit to retake the lead in the final minutes. 

Wide receivers/tight ends

While Adam Thielen’s pending 56.4 receiving grade performance wasn’t anything to drool over, Justin Jefferson more than picked up the slack with a decorated 80.3 receiving grade of his own after first review. Jefferson hauled in seven of his eight targets for six first downs, 124 yards and three explosive plays, more than owning his one-on-one mismatch with Amani Oruwariye.

Tight end Tyler Conklin finished with a pending 65.3 receiving grade after catching two passes for 25 yards.

Offensive line

The Vikings did a decent job protecting Cousins, as he was sacked just once. The unit's run blocking was a different story. Mattison frequently had to make defenders miss at the line of scrimmage, and just 8.8% of his yards came before contact.

Defensive line

Everson Griffen dominated first-round rookie Penei Sewell on the blindside to the tune of a two-sack performance, featuring an early strip-sack in the first quarter. He and Danielle Hunter finished with a 90.5 pressure rate and a 76.5 pressure rate, respectively, and combined for four sacks, 10 hurries and 16 total pressures.


Eric Kendricks had an interception and four defensive stops. He is set to earn a 90.0-plus coverage grade but a sub-60.0 run-defense grade.


While Bashaud Breeland saw eight targets and gave up a touchdown, Harrison Smith forced two incompletions and snagged an interception en route to a pending 83.3 coverage grade.

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Detroit Lions


Although Jared Goff had only 5.6 yards per pass attempt, he still managed to put the ball in the danger zone, resulting in a pending 46.6 passing grade. 

Player Turnover-Worthy Plays Big-Time Throws Interceptions
Jared Goff 3 0 1

Goff finished with just 224 passing yards, a 57% completion percentage and no touchdown tosses on 44 dropbacks.

Running back

The Lions’ rushing duo of Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift was yet again the most functional aspect of the Lions' offense. 

Player Rush Attempts Yards Per Carry Explosive Runs Yards before contact
D’Andre Swift 11 4.6 2 31
Jamaal Williams 13 4.4 1 20

Swift’s go-ahead touchdown and three first-down runs helped prop up a PFF rushing grade that is set to fall below 60.0.

Wide receivers/tight ends

It was another forgetful receiving outing for tight end T.J. Hockenson, who finished with just two catches on four targets. Amon-Ra St. Brown’s 76.5 pending receiving grade was a silver lining, as the rookie reeled in five first-down catches and racked up 51 yards after the catch. 

Offensive line

Two sacks and four hurries allowed was a microcosm of Penei Sewell‘s rough day at left tackle. It’s been two weeks in a row that the rookie has been thoroughly worked by veteran pass-rushers.

Defensive line

Charles Harris recorded a sack and three hurries, serving as the best player on Detroit's defensive line.


Jalen Reeves-Maybin’s pending 83.9 run-defense grade featured a tackle for loss, a defensive stop and a forced fumble prior to the two-minute warning that briefly placed the Lions back in the game. He finished with three tackles on 17 run snaps, too. 


It wasn’t the finest hour for Amani Oruwariye, as he is set to earn a sub-50.0 PFF coverage grade. He was targeted six times and gave up five catches for 96 yards and four first downs.

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