May 28, 2024

In the final regular-season game, the NFC North champion Detroit Lions secured a 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Despite the victory, the Lions faced a concerning moment as their rookie sensation, Sam LaPorta, who had a 2-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, limped off the field with a knee injury. This development casts a shadow over the Lions’ playoff prospects.

Detroit, with a record-matching 12-5 season, is set to host a playoff game for the first time since 1993. The team is hopeful that LaPorta, who established an NFL record for receptions by a rookie tight end with 86, will recover in time to contribute to their playoff journey. Coach Dan Campbell chose to play all starters, aiming to improve their playoff seeding, contingent on the Cowboys losing later that day.

On the other side, the Vikings (7-10) saw their playoff hopes extinguished after losing four consecutive games and six of seven, hampered by Kirk Cousins’ torn Achilles tendon and the team’s struggles to fill his position.

Injury update: Detroit Lions TE Sam LaPorta 'likely to some miss time' -  Pride Of Detroit

Quarterback Nick Mullens, one of three to start for the Vikings in the last five games, connected with Justin Jefferson for a 38-yard touchdown and found Jordan Addison for a 42-yard score. Despite Mullens’ efforts, Jared Goff’s 70-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown and a field goal by Michael Badgley secured the Lions’ 30-20 lead in the fourth quarter.

Mullens’ late interceptions to Cam Sutton and C.J. Gardner-Johnson dashed Minnesota’s comeback hopes, and the game concluded with the quarterback finishing 30 of 44 for 396 yards.

Justin Jefferson, as usual, stood out for the Vikings with a career-high 12 catches for a season-best 192 yards and a touchdown. Remarkably, he joined a select group in NFL history, including Wes Chandler (1982) and Jim Benton (1945), by reaching 1,000 yards receiving in 10 or fewer games.

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