Greg Joseph made a 54-yard field goal as time expired to give the Minnesota Vikings a 19-17 victory over the winless Lions on Sunday after new Detroit coach Dan Campbell successfully called for the go-ahead 2-point conversion try with 37 seconds left.
Joseph made four field goals, including a career-best 55-yarder, as the Vikings (2-3) casually played the field position game until the extra-safe strategy nearly cost them a must-have victory.
After Joseph’s 49-yard attempt with 3:17 remaining strangely fell short, the Lions (0-5) went the other way for Austin Seibert’s third field goal to pull within 16-9.
Alexander Mattison, who ably filled in for the injured Dalvin Cook with 153 total yards and a second quarter touchdown catch, had the ball ripped away by Jalen Reeves-Maybin on a third-and-7 run from the Minnesota 21 right after the 2-minute warning with Detroit out of timeouts.
Three plays later, D’Andre Swift had the Lions in the end zone with 7-yard run. Instead of settling for the tie, Campbell kept the offense on the field. Jared Goff, who had turnovers to end two drives that inside the 30, zinged a pass to KhaDarel Hodge on a crossing route in the front of the goal posts for the lead.
The Lions, who have lost nine straight games overall, surely knew better than to feel comfortable at that point. The Vikings used two timeouts and two deep throws from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen to get in range for Joseph, who came through this time after missing a 37-yard field goal on the final play in a 34-33 loss at Arizona on Sept. 19.
Two weeks ago, the Lions lost 19-17 to Baltimore after the Ravens scrambled in the closing seconds to set up an NFL-record 66-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.
The Vikings limited Goff to a 64.3 passer rating, going 21 for 35 for 203 yards. Eric Kendricks made a one-handed interception in the third quarter, and Griffen and Danielle Hunter each had 1 1/2 of the team’s four sacks.
Justin Jefferson took six of his seven catches for first downs and finished with 124 yards for the Vikings, whose offense has not scored a second half touchdown in four straight games.
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen beat first-round draft pick Penei Sewell on back-to-back plays in the first quarter to destroy a promising drive for the Lions. On first-and-10 from the 23, Griffen bull-rushed past the seventh overall selection for an 8-yard sack. Then, Griffen used a slick spin move to slip past Sewell, who was listed as questionable for the game with an ankle injury, and take down Goff in tandem with Hunter.
Griffen was credited with a half-sack and a forced fumble, recovered by James Lynch at the 35. Goff leads the league in both fumbles (six) and fumbles lost (four).
Lions: WR Quintez Cephus left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury and didn’t return. He landed hard while being tackled as he tumbled out of bounds after a 21-yard reception. … CB Corey Ballentine hurt a hamstring in the fourth quarter.
Vikings: DT Michael Pierce (elbow) was inactive after getting hurt during the game last week, replaced in the starting lineup by Armon Watts. … Cook has missed 23 of 69 regular season games to injury in his career.
Lions: host Cincinnati next Sunday.
Vikings: visit Carolina next Sunday.