EditorsNote: Adds team records, minor edits throughout
The Minnesota Vikings set the tone in the first quarter with a three-touchdown outburst on the way to a 41-17 win over the visiting Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs and Aldrick Robinson, and Dalvin Cook rushed for two scores and Latavius Murray ran for another as the Vikings (7-6-1) set a season high in points scored.
Dan Bailey added two field goals for the Vikings, who tallied 418 yards of offense and broke a two-game losing streak.
Cousins passed for 215 yards, while Cook carried 19 times for a game-high 136 yards.
Minnesota’s defense smothered the Dolphins, holding quarterback Ryan Tannehill to just 108 passing yards and the team to 193 yards of total offense.
Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kalen Ballage scored touchdowns, and Jason Sanders added a 25-yard field goal for Miami (7-7), which lost for the sixth time in seven road games.
Miami running back Frank Gore left the game in the first quarter with a foot injury. X-rays were negative but he did not return.
The Vikings scored on their first three drives to put the Dolphins in a quick 21-0 hole.
Cousins tossed a 13-yard scoring pass to Diggs, Cook dashed in on a 13-yard run and Murray scampered in from 18 yards to put the NFC North’s second-place team in great position to keep its playoff hopes alive.
However, Fitzpatrick picked off a Cousins pass on Minnesota’s fourth drive, returning it 50 yards for a score. Sanders booted a 25-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half to draw Miami to within 21-10 at the half.
Following a touchback on the second-half kickoff, Ballage, a rookie running back from Arizona State, broke through the right side and outran the Minnesota defense for a 75-yard score to put the Dolphins right back in it at 21-17.
The two teams punted a combined six times on the next eight series, with Bailey kicking field goals of 36 and 34 yards to give the Vikings a 27-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Cousins gave Minnesota plenty of breathing room when he went over the top of the Miami secondary to find Robinson on a 40-yard strike for a 34-17 advantage with less than 10 minutes to play.
Cook’s 21-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter rounded out the scoring.
—Field Level Media