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Vikings' Super Bowl-worthy D stifles Ravens in victory

In a white-knuckle showdown between a pair of rugged defenses, the Vikings (5-2) knocked out the Ravens (3-4) in a 24-16 grinder. Here's what we learned from Minnesota's field-goal-heavy win over Baltimore:

  1. With Mike Wallace landing in the league's concussion protocol minutes into the game, Joe Flacco found himself unfurling passes to guys like Michael Campanaro and Griff Whalen. The Ravens and Vikings failed to reach the red zone in the first half, while Baltimore finished the day at a ridiculous 3.3 yards per play. That should come as no surprise to Ravens fans, who are "treated" weekly to one of the NFL's ugliest air attacks. Flacco threw for an outrageous 51 yards over the first 30 minutes of play before finishing with 186 yards on the day, with too much of that coming on a final garbage-time march. Baltimore couldn't get anything done in the backfield, either, managing just 64 yards on the ground. Spinning this positively, Baltimore was facing a Minnesota defense that looks like a Super Bowl-worthy unit.
  1. The Vikings missed injured rookie back Dalvin Cook early on, but Latavius Murray broke the contest wide open with a hard-charging 29-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that safely put Minnesota up 18-6. This came after Murray busted out for a 35-yard gain en route to 113 yards at 5.1 yards per carry, by far his finest output of the year. Minnesota couldn't make up for the loss of wideout Stefan Diggs, though, with Case Keenum throwing for 188 yards with no pass-catcher accounting for more than 54 yards. Once again, though, Keenum was safe with the ball and kept his team out of trouble.
  1. Perhaps you aren't a fan of games locked 6-6 at the half, but it's hard not to respect the handiwork of both team's kickers. Baltimore's unparalleled Justin Tucker nailed field goals of 57, 48 and 47 yards, while Minnesota's Kai Forbath banged kicks of 52, 51, 34, 32 and a pair of 43 yarders. His six field goals were one shy of a team record held by Rich Karlis.
  1. It didn't lead to points for Baltimore, but why was Vikings defensive lineman Tom Johnson flagged for roughing the passer on a play that saw him fall down into Flacco after being tripped at the line? The play also featured linebacker Anthony Barr soaring off the edge to get a piece of the Ravens passer. Barr took heat from Packers fans for knocking Aaron Rodgers out of the lineup last week, but the Minnesota Pro Bowler -- with another sack on Sunday -- is logging his finest season yet. With two takedowns of his own, Vikings pass rusher Everson Griffen also became just the sixth player in NFL history to notch a sack in each of his team's first seven games.
  1. After missing the past four games with a foot injury, Brandon Williams made an early impact in his return to the lineup, stuffing Murray for a three-yard loss on Minnesota's second drive. It didn't last, though, with the Ravens allowing 169 yards on the ground after giving up 231 yards to the Bears seven days ago.
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