Lions beat Vikings on Prater's last-second field goal

Not when quarterback Sam Bradford falls into a coverage trap the very next play and telegraphs a pass to a zoned-out cornerback like Darius Slay, who jumped in front of Adam Thielen for the interception that fated Minnesota's fifth loss in six games.

This Thanksgiving, The Detroit Lions host the Minnesota Vikings in a battle for the lead in the NFC North. Minnesota responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive of their own, although they almost turned the ball over twice, a Sam Bradford fumbled being overturned after replay and a Glover Quin interception being called back by a penalty.

Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater (5) celebrates after kicking the game winning field goal during the fourth quarter of a National Football League game on Thanksgiving against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. "I'm sure he'll let you know it's 'Big Play Slay'". The team has shown the capability over the last couple of seasons to string together wins and they're keeping the faith that it can happen late in the season this year.

Earlier this month, Prater made a game-tying 58-yard field goal at the end of regulation earlier this month at Minnesota and the Lions won in overtime.

With a laser arm and A+ accuracy, Bradford has the tools to fire the ball into traffic or launch one deep or put the ball where only his man can get it in the back of the end zone. The Lions are 7-4 and essentially two games up on the second-place Vikings (6-5) because they've swept both meetings and subsequently own the tiebreaker.

Slay sealed the first victory during the successful stretch with an interception late in the game on October 9 against Philadelphia.

"He's as good as they come in those situations", Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell said.

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Whether it's Wilton Speight or John O'Korn that gets the start for MI on Saturday, yards through the air will be touch to come by. They've won three straight, including a pair of 62-3 victories followed by last week's 17-16 victory against Michigan State .

"He's one of those guys who's a bit of a riverboat gambler", Caldwell said. We can't make excuses. With a depleted offensive line, the Vikings have emphasized safeguarding Bradford at all costs and getting the football out of his hand as rapidly as possible with short, quick passes. But the Vikings let Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford work some more fourth-quarter magic, just has he had done in Minnesota on November 6. Matt Prater kicked a clutch field goal as time expired. "It means nothing right now, right?"

"Every time we get some chemistry going on the line, we lose someone else", Rudolph said. The offensive line is an injury-plagued mess, and amazingly center Joe Berger (concussion) and right tackle Jeremiah Sirles (hip) left Thursday's game with injuries.

If the Vikings maintain their current rushing average, they'll finish the season with 1,137 collective rushing yards. When you have to get the ball out of your hand nearly as soon as you receive the snap, 5-yard routes are going to rule the day, and that's what we've seen with this offense in recent weeks.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer stressed the Vikings are going to "keep fighting" the rest of the season.

Through it all, leave it to Boone to do what he could to cheer up the locker room and display optimism for the final five games.

Minnesota receiver Stefon Diggs (knee) was out, and nobody else emerged as much of a big-play threat. As the Vikings shift their attention to Thursday's game against Dallas, Zimmer said there are still plenty of positives surrounding the Vikings.

  • Lawrence Cooper