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Vikings' playoff hopes take a hit with loss to Rams

The Vikings couldn't convert their opportunities in a must-win game.
Mike Zimmer

The Minnesota Vikings' playoff hopes took a hit on Sunday as the Los Angeles Rams handed them a 30-23 loss at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings started Sunday's game by going three-and-out and the Rams took the opportunity to march down the field. After a 12-play, 70-yard drive, Sony Michel plowed into the end zone to put L.A. on the board.

Down 7-0, the Vikings went on a drive of their own to get to the Rams' goal line. But on third-and-goal, Kirk Cousins's pass ricocheted off the hands of K.J. Osborn and into the hands of Travin Howard to leave Minnesota empty-handed.

It was symbolic of how the Vikings offense operated in the first half. Even when Matthew Stafford threw an interception that put the ball on the L.A. 11, the Vikings stumbled over themselves before Adam Thielen aggravated his ankle injury and had to settle for a Greg Joseph field goal.

After entering the second half down 13-3, the defense stepped up and forced two interceptions from Stafford including one that set the Vikings up at the one-yard line. This time, they would cash in with Mattison charging into the end zone to make it a 13-10 game.

Both teams followed up Mattison's touchdown with three-and-outs before Jordan Berry returned a punt for a touchdown to put L.A. up 20-10. The Vikings got aggressive, finding Justin Jefferson on a pair of long catches but ultimately had to settle for another Joseph field goal.

Cameron Dantzler appeared to force a Cooper Kupp fumble on the next drive but it was ruled that Kupp's forward progress was stopped. The Rams took advantage with Stafford connecting with Odell Beckham Jr. for a seven-yard touchdown that put L.A. up 27-13.

Cousins responded with a six-yard touchdown to K.J. Osborn to make it a 27-20 game but the Rams ripped off another long drive that led to a field goal with 2:03 remaining.

The Vikings drove into Rams territory for a last gasp effort but Zimmer opted to have Joseph kick a 44-yard field goal on second down with 36 to go. The onside kick was unsuccessful and the Vikings came up short.

The Vikings fall to 7-8 with the loss and will head to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers next Sunday night.

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