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Vikings play it safe, barely beat Detroit Lions

Greg Joseph's 54-yarder saved the Vikings from an embarrassing defeat.
Mike Zimmer

The Minnesota Vikings opted to play it safe on Sunday afternoon and it almost cost them, but a last-second field goal by Greg Joseph helped them pick up a 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions.

The Vikings were conservative from the opening kickoff when they decided to make Dalvin Cook inactive for the game. Dealing with an ankle injury, Cook's absence paved the way for Alexander Mattison to have another big game.

After the Vikings took a 6-3 lead early, Mattison made his mark by running over defenders on 15-yard touchdown reception to put Minnesota up 13-3.

Although Mattison rolled for 153 total yards on the afternoon, the Vikings' offense was extremely conservative. After Detroit chipped into the lead with an Austin Siebert field goal, the Vikings decided to run into the locker room with a 13-6 advantage.

With the offense in survival mode, the Vikings' defense stepped up thanks to a highlight-worthy interception by Eric Kendricks.

Joseph hit a 55-yard field goal to extend the lead in the fourth quarter but that's where things went south for Minnesota. Joseph missed another field goal later in the game, opening the door for Detroit to climb within a possession on Siebert's third field goal of the afternoon.

Up 16-9, the Vikings had a chance to kill the clock but Mattison fumbled to give the Lions one more chance. 

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With prime field position, D'Andre Swift ran it in from seven yards out and the Lions took the lead on a successful two-point conversion.

With the game on the line, the Vikings finally opened up the playbook, setting up Joseph for a 54-yard attempt. Joseph drilled the field goal and helped Minnesota escape by the skin of their teeth.

The Vikings improve 2-3 with the win and will travel to Carolina next week.

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