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Dalvin Cook's return helps Vikings hold off Steelers

The Steelers' late comeback attempt fell short as the Vikings improved to 6-7.

The Minnesota Vikings can't help but make things interesting. Despite building a 29-point lead, the Vikings flirted with a historic collapse but ultimately held off the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 36-28 victory.

The big storyline coming into the game was the return of Dalvin Cook. There was a concern as to how big of a factor Cook would be coming off a shoulder injury reported to knock him out for several weeks but Cook gashed a Pittsburgh defense that looked like it would rather be somewhere else in the first half.

Cook ran for 206 yards and two touchdowns and helped the Vikings dominate the first half. Although Justin Jefferson set the tone early with a touchdown reception, Cook expanded the lead in the second quarter with a 29-yard touchdown run that gave Minnesota a 16-0 lead.

Later in the second quarter, Cook found the end zone again on a seven-yard touchdown run which helped the Vikings go into halftime with a 23-0 lead.

While Cook carried the offense, the defense did its part to shut down the Steelers. One week after making Jared Goff look like Joe Montana, the Vikings held Pittsburgh scoreless through the first half and made this game look like a laugher.

But the Vikings stayed on brand after their lead swelled to 29-0 in the third quarter. Cousins struggled after a fast start and the Steelers came back behind two touchdowns from Najee Harris.

After Roethlisberger connected on a 30-yard touchdown to James Washington, the Steelers made it a 29-20 game after failing on a two-point conversion. But the Vikings answered on the following drive with Cousins putting the game away on a 62-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn.

Even with the score, the Vikings made things interesting when Cousins threw an interception to Ahkello Witherspoon. Two plays later, Roethlisberger found Pat Freiermuth and the following two-point conversion made it a one-score game.

After another stop, the Steelers got the ball back with a chance to tie the game. Starting at their own four-yard line, Roethlisberger turned back the clock, leading Pittsburgh to midfield at the two-minute warning.

The Steelers ultimately got to the 12-yard line with two seconds to go and on the final play of the game, Roethlisberger's pass bounced off the hands of Freiermuth to help the Vikings escape with a victory.

In case you were wondering, the Vikings avoided the same fate as the 1980 New Orleans Saints, who blew a 28-point lead to the San Francisco 49ers in the biggest regular-season comeback in NFL history.

But the win helped Minnesota improve to 6-7 but it won't make anyone comfortable about a late-season run. The Vikings will try to restore the faith when they head to Chicago to face the Bears next week.  

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