The Vikings’ stout defense dominated the Falcons to post a 14-9 victory on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Vikings earned their eighth straight victory and improved to 10-2.
The Falcons, who didn’t score a touchdown for the first time since losing 38-0 to Carolina on Dec. 13, 2015, dropped to 7-5.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had thrown at least one touchdown in 30 straight games, which was the league’s longest active streak.
The Falcons were 1 of 10 on third downs and had to settle for field goals when they bogged down before a crowd of 71,185 (tickets distributed).
Here are the grades for the game:
Run offense: Devonta Freeman returned to the starting lineup and ran well. He finished with 74 yards on 12 carries. Tevin Coleman had 22 yards on eight carries. The Falcons opened with a 16-play drive that took 7:24 off the clock, but was halted by three penalties. Jake Matthews had an illegal block and Alex Mack and Ben Garland had holding penalties. Left guard Andy Levitre suffered a triceps injury and did not return to the game. Freeman had a 25-yard run called back on Mack’s holding penalty. Grade: B
Pass offense: The Falcons tried their quick passing game early and had some success. Ryan was under constant pressure and off the mark, especially on third downs. Ryan was 17 of 30 for 172 yards. Wide receiver Julio Jones was held to one catch for 13 yards after having 12 catches for 253 yards last week against Tampa Bay. Grade: D
Run defense: Latavius Murray ran hard for the Vikings and busted up the middle for a 30-yard gain in the second quarter. He had 45 yards on six carries at halftime. Grady Jarrett and Derrick Shelby were stout against the run. Murray rushed 16 times for 76 yards. Jerick McKinnon rushed nine times for 24 yards. Grade: C
Pass defense: The Falcons had to play with a patchwork secondary with Desmond Trufant (concussion protocol) and Brian Poole (back) out. Blidi Wreh-Wilson started at left cornerback for Trufant. Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum moved the ball around to nine different receivers as the Falcons played mostly zone defense. Grady Jarrett had a sack to end Minnesota’s second offensive possession. Wren-Wilson was in coverage against Kyle Rudolph on Minnesota’s go-ahead touchdown. Grade: C
Special teams: Matt Bryant made field goals of 38, 36 and 47 yards. He missed a 45-yarder that could have made it 14-12 with 4:58 to play. Punter Matt Bosher had 4.5 seconds of hang time on his 42-yard punt in that second quarter that forced a fair catch. Bosher had a 54-yard punt that had 5:37 seconds of hang time in the third quarter. Andre Roberts was steady. Grade: C
Coaching: The Falcons were sloppy as they committed six penalties for 45 yard and killed two promising drives in the first half. The Falcons had to settle for two field goals and didn’t have any answers for third down. Grade: C
Next up: The Falcons will host the New Orleans Saints in a key NFC South game at 8:25 p.m. Thursday night at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.