Lions at Vikings score: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota defense cruise to NFC North victory over sliding Detroit

Relive Sunday's important rivalry game with analysis and highlights from throughout the day

The Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings have gone in opposite directions since their last meeting in October, and the trend continued in Sunday's NFC North rematch, with Mike Zimmer's squad taking advantage of Detroit's slide and cruising to a 20-7 victory to improve to 9-4 and keep pace with the Green Bay Packers in the postseason picture.

Keeping things close through the first 15 minutes of action, the Lions limited Vikings QB Kirk Cousins to just 57 yards through the air in the opening quarter, surrendering an acrobatic Bisi Johnson touchdown grab, only on the drive they lost key starters Darius Slay and Jarrad Davis to injuries on back-to-back plays.

But the Vikings did their best to keep undrafted rookie starter David Blough in check from then on, stalling several drives with a trio of Danielle Hunter sacks, including one that got all the way inside the red zone, then snagging a deep-ball interception in the third and closing the game with an end-zone interception.

Cousins' connection with Stefon Diggs (86 first-half yards) got the Vikings offense into a rhythm as the clock wound down on the second quarter, and Minnesota needed just 46 seconds to go 65 yards for an insurance touchdown before halftime, going up 17-0 when Dalvin Cook, who came in with a chest/shoulder injury, scored around the edge untouched. More Cousins efficiency helped the Vikings extend their lead to 20 early in the final quarter.

Relive the entire NFC North showdown below, and check back momentarily for takeaways from the game.

7
20
SUN 1:00 P
MIN -12.5, o44.5
FOX
MIN -12.5, O/U 44.5

Season Leaders

passing
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M. Stafford 2499 YD, 19 TDS, 5 INTS
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M. Stafford 2499 YD, 19 TDS, 5 INTS
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K. Cousins 3603 YD, 26 TDS, 6 INTS
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K. Cousins 3603 YD, 26 TDS, 6 INTS
rushing
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K. Johnson 113 ATT, 403 YD, 3 TDS
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K. Johnson 113 ATT, 403 YD, 3 TDS
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D. Cook 250 ATT, 1135 YD, 13 TDS
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D. Cook 250 ATT, 1135 YD, 13 TDS
receiving
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K. Golladay 65 REC, 1190 YD, 11 TDS
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K. Golladay 65 REC, 1190 YD, 11 TDS
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S. Diggs 63 REC, 1130 YD, 6 TDS
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S. Diggs 63 REC, 1130 YD, 6 TDS
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That's a final from Minnesota, ladies and gentlemen. Vikings win it 20-7 over the Lions, improving to 9-4 and staying pace with the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North race. Keep it right here at CBS Sports for more analysis!

And that'll do it. Blough gets risky after throwing a first down, chucks one into the end zone, and Andrew Sendejo comes flying across the middle for the game-ending pick. Vikings will take over at their own 20 and kneel this thing out.

A couple of quick passes put the Lions inside the 35, and Detroit uses its final timeout. Got a third-and-6 upcoming. Vikings lead 20-7.

Vikings elect to run it on fourth-and-2 with 1:45 left, and the Lions stuff it. Detroit gets the ball at the 44. Odd play-calling from Minnesota there. Why not just punt it away the way the Lions have been playing?

Vikings recover Detroit's onside kick attempt. Kyle Rudolph secured the ball. Lions still have three timeouts and the two-minute warning.

Blough with a beautiful strike to Kenny Golladay on fourth-and-5 to get the Lions on the board. It's 20-7 with 2:09 to go. Detroit avoids the shutout, with Golladay beating Trae Waynes in the end zone.

Detroit now all the way inside the red zone, competing to get on the board before the clock hits :00.

Lions with a drive to salvage some pride here. Five minutes left, and they've got it at their own 25. Vikings already have this one in the bag.

Cousins just avoids a potential sack/safety throwing out of his own end zone, gives the Vikings' some breathing room with a completion to Tyler Conklin. Lions have another defender slow to get up.

Everson Griffen gets to Blough for another third-down sack. Blough has been pummeled way too often on those key situations. Lions punting it away down 20 with 10 minutes to go. That's game.

Scarbrough getting looked at before the Lions' next third-down try. Now walking to the sideline under his own power.

Third-and-1 from the 35, and the Lions move the chains with a Scarbrough run up the middle.

@Vikings via Twitter
December 8, 2019, 8:30 PM

Dan Bailey hits a 50-yarder to extend Minnesota's lead to 20.

That was a big play from Smith, who redeems himself from two holding penalties earlier. Vikings have a chance to basically put this game away on this drive. Up 17-0 with just about three minutes left in the third. Already in Lions territory.

Flag doesn't matter anyway, as the Vikings steal possession on the very next play, Harrison Smith snagging a deep ball from Blough to Golladay. Ball was well overthrown.

Blough connects with Scarbrough for a short gain, but the Lions get 15 more after the Vikings are flagged for roughing the passer. Stephen Weatherly the one called for the foul, even though he hardly touched the Lions QB.

Third-and-6, and the Lions finally get some pressure on Cousins, who narrowly avoids a couple of sacks and potential fumble, then nearly throws the ball right into the hands of a defender. Dangerous play there. Vikings to punt.

Cousins throws the ball into the turf to avoid a sack, then finds Diggs over the middle for a first down. Diggs now has six catches for 92 yards on the day.

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