Vikings hold off Patriots, take commanding lead in NFC North

MINNEAPOLIS — In a game packed with highlight plays, the Minnesota Vikings held off the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving night for a 33-26 victory.

Both teams scored early in each half, including a thrilling kickoff return touchdown by the Vikings in response to a Patriots score to start the second half.

The Vikings move to 9-2 on the season, while the Patriots slip to 6-5.

Fresh off one of the worst home losses in team history, the Viking did exactly what they wanted to do Thursday night: Move on from it.

Their victory over the Patriots made it a lot easier to stomach a 37-point loss they absorbed four days earlier from the Dallas Cowboys, one that had called into question whether they could be considered one of the NFL’s top teams.

Just as important, a Cowboys game that receiver Justin Jefferson called “embarrassing” and “a disaster all around” can be better viewed as an aberration rather than a deep look into the Vikings’ future.

The Vikings will now have 10 days to prepare for their next game, at home against the New York Jets, as they close in on an NFC North title and remain in contention for the NFC’s top seed.

Describe the game in two words: Very close. The Vikings took the lead three separate times in this game, lost it twice and, overall, were tied with the Patriots five different times. Games like that rarely happen in the NFL. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was only the second time in seven seasons when the score has been tied separately on