Vikings beat Jaguars 25-16 for 1st road win since September
Minnesota remains two games behind Detroit in NFC North
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Matt Asiata scored on a short touchdown run, Kai Forbath kicked four field goals and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 25-16 on Sunday, winning for just the second time in nine weeks.
Asiata had a chance to score three times, but he was stopped on a fourth-and-goal run in the second quarter and fumbled at the goal line in the fourth.
Those mistakes hardly hurt against the hapless Jaguars (2-11), who dropped their eighth consecutive game and fell to 0-6 at EverBank Field this season.
Minnesota (7-6) hadn’t won on the road since Sept. 25 at Carolina. A loss to the Jaguars would have weakened their playoff chances.
Sam Bradford completed 24 of 34 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown. His 3-yard TD toss to Kyle Rudolph with 2:13 remaining sealed the victory. Bradford did even more damage on deep throws early.
Bradford connected with Rudolph for 44 yards on the first play from scrimmage and then found Adam Thielen for a 41-yard gain on Minnesota’s second possession. Both set up field goals.
Jacksonville had been really solid at preventing long passes all season.
Before Sunday, the Jaguars had allowed just two pass plays longer than 40 yards all season. They gave up three in the first half against Minnesota.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer returned after a one-game absence and was on the sideline. Zimmer missed last week’s game against Dallas because of a detached retina and was unsure earlier in the week whether he would be on the field or in an upstairs box.
Zimmer, who needed a doctor’s clearance to fly to Jacksonville, was wearing a patch over his right eye. He also had protective glasses on beforehand, but ditched those when the game started.
Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes and Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey, who were nearly teammates at Florida State, both were benched following personal foul penalties.
Rhodes was benched for two plays after yelling at an official in the third quarter. It came after he was flagged for defensive holding. Ramsey was penalized for body-slamming Stefon Diggs in the second quarter.
Ramsey left the field for just one play following his unnecessary roughness penalty.
JIMMY SMITH HONORED
Retired Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith was inducted into the franchise’s ring of honor at halftime. Smith cried as his name and jersey number (82) were unveiled inside the stadium.
Smith captured part of the ceremony on his phone as more than 40 former Jaguars stood behind him. Smith joined offensive tackle Tony Boselli (2006), former owners Wayne and Delores Weaver (2012), running back Fred Taylor (2012) and quarterback Mark Brunell (2013) in the Pride of the Jaguars.
The 47-year-old Smith, whose life has been defined as much by drug addiction as football production, is the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions (862), receiving yards (12,287) and receiving touchdowns (67).
He still holds 11 team records, including most consecutive games with a reception (86). He helped Jacksonville make the playoffs four consecutive seasons (1996-99) and was voted to five consecutive Pro Bowls (1997-2001).
“Well, that journey has been tough and it’s not over yet,” Smith said, referring to his personal struggles.
“A friend was talking to me and he mentioned that I’m an All-Pro at getting back up and that’s the message that I want to spread throughout — to every kid, every Jacksonville fan, every adult, everyone. Be an All-Pro at getting back up because you’re going to get knocked down.”
Minnesota stays in the AFC South and hosts Indianapolis.
Jacksonville travels to Houston, which has won five in a row in the series.