The Vikings were coming off a shaky defensive performance.
They certainly made up for it Sunday.
In a 24-7 win at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings held the Los Angeles Rams to more than 25 points under their NFL-leading scoring average of 32.9 entering the game.
The Vikings held the Rams to just 254 yards. That was more than 130 yards less than the 388.9 per game they had been averaging.
That strong outing came after the Vikings had given up a season-high point total and a season-most 394 yards in a 38-30 win Nov. 12 at Washington.
“We came in and we had a gameplan,’’ said defensive end Danielle Hunter. “We basically focused on our techniques and once we got rolling, everything was good.’’
The Vikings stuffed Rams running back Todd Gurley, who had come in fourth in the NFL in rushing with 754 yards. Gurley had just 37 yards on 15 carries and the Rams overall had just 45 yards on the ground.
Minnesota came in also looking to disrupt Rams quarterback Jared Goff with pressure. Hunter and rookie Tashawn Bower had sacks of Goff, but defensive end Everson Griffen said the Rams’ fear of Minnesota’s pass rush paid dividends alone.
“They really didn’t let us rush the passer,’’ Griffen said. “In the beginning, (Goff) was holding the ball a little bit, running more, but after that, it was getting the ball out (quick), he was sitting shallow in the pocket. They didn’t want to get him hit. And when they’re afraid of the rush, they can’t beat you down the field throwing the deep ball. You got to be able to drop back and throw the deep ball.’’
Goff completed 23 of 37 passes for 225 yards. He didn’t do much after leading the Rams on a 75-yard touchdown drive on their first possession, one that culminated in a 6-yard TD run by Gurley.
“They started off pretty fast,’’ said nose tackle Linval Joseph. “We knew from that point on that we had to be on our P’s and Q’s. We got it done.’’
The defense got it done with without starting safety Andrew Sendejo (groin/hamstring) and top reserve defensive end Brian Robison (back). Cornerback Xavier Rhodes missed some time in the first half with a calf injury before being able to return.