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Loss to Patriots drops Vikings out of NFC playoff picture

Minnesota missed an opportunity to gain on the Bears.

Tom Brady and the Patriots were too much for the Vikings as they methodically pulled away, winning 24-10 Sunday at Gillette Stadium. 

The Patriots have lost just five regular season games in December/January when Brady starts, and this game was no different as he used a dink-and-dunk approach to complete 24-of-32 passes for 311 yards and one touchdown. 

It was a lost opportunity for the Vikings, who could've moved within a half-game of first place in the NFC North because the Bears lost to the Giants in overtime earlier in the day.

Instead, the Vikings remain two wins behind Chicago with four games to go, leaving them more likely to continue competing for a wild card berth. 

Wild Card standings:

  1. Seahawks (7-5)
  2. Redskins (6-5)
  3. Vikings (6-5-1)
  4. Panthers (6-6)
  5. Eagles (5-6)
  6. Buccaneers (5-7)
  7. Packers (4-7-1)

If Philadelphia is able to beat the Redskins on Monday night the Vikings will move back into the second wild-card position with an even bigger game next Monday night between the Vikings and Seahawks in Seattle. 

James Develin had two one-yard rushing touchdowns for New England and Brady's lone touchdown pass found the hands of Josh Gordon on a 24-yard strike in the third quarter. 

Minnesota's only touchdown came in the second quarter on a five-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen. 

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Thielen finished with five catches for just 28 yards and Cousins averaged just 4.6 yards per completion (32-of-44 for 201 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT). 

Minnesota ran the ball just 13 times despite Dalvin Cook running for 84 yards on nine carries for an average of 9.3 yards per rush. Cook also had eight catches for 22 yards. 

Minnesota plays Seattle next Monday night. 

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