MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP)Dalvin Cook rushed for a 53-yard insurance touchdown in the fourth quarter and the Minnesota Vikings held on to beat the injury-riddled Miami Dolphins 24-16 on Sunday.
Cook was quiet most of the afternoon until his score with 3:25 left restored Minnesota’s two-touchdown lead.
Miami had rallied behind Teddy Bridgewater, a former Viking who returned Sunday from concussion protocol but was only put into game action after third-stringer Skylar Thompson injured his thumb in the second quarter.
Cook’s burst followed a fumble by Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle on a drive when Miami was swiftly moving the ball down the field, trailing 16-10.
Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson, who entered the game as the NFL’s leader in receiving yards, had a 47-yard catch-and-run at the end of the third quarter – part of a six-catch, 107-yard performance. That set up a 2-yard touchdown catch by Adam Thielen to make it 16-3.
Facing their fifth-straight fourth-quarter deficit, the Dolphins found the end zone for the first time when Bridgewater threw a 4-yard TD pass to tight end Mike Gesicki.
The Vikings defense came away with an interception and fumble recovery on the Dolphins’ next two possessions. Minnesota’s defense sacked Miami’s quarterbacks five times.
The Dolphins defense put together one of its best performances in a while – three sacks, seven quarterback hurries, four tackles for loss – but didn’t get enough help from an offense that could not turn drives into points.
Miami had three receivers – Hill, Waddle and Gesicki – with at least seven catches.
Waddle and Hill both topped 100 receiving yards, and Gesicki had two touchdown catches, including one with less than two minutes left after the game had virtually been decided.
Thompson started in place of Bridgewater and Tua Tagovailoa. He didn’t return after injuring his thumb, marking the fourth-consecutive game that a Dolphins starting quarterback was injured.
Bridgewater replaced Thompson with about 11 minutes left in the first half after spending most of the week in the NFL’s concussion protocol. He finished with 329 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Cousins was 20 for 30 with 175 yards and two touchdowns. Cook ran for 77 yards on 13 carries.
Minnesota got Jefferson and Thielen involved on their fifth possession of the game after four-consecutive three-and-outs. The result was a touchdown catch by tight end Irv Smith Jr. for a 7-3 lead.
From the start, Thompson looked more comfortable throwing the ball than he did in last week’s loss to the Jets. But the Dolphins did little to help their rookie quarterback on their first two drives.
Thompson had an impressive third-down scramble on Miami’s opening drive, then followed with a throw to Gesicki in tight coverage for an 18-yard gain.
Miami’s offensive line, playing without starting left tackle Terron Armstead, allowed Patrick Jones to get through to Thompson untouched for an 8-yard sack that knocked the Dolphins out of field goal range.
Miami had another drive in the first half spoiled by five penalties over 10 plays, wiping out gains of 20, 32 and 9 yards.
The Dolphins honored Sgt. Dustin Demonte, who along with officer Alex Hamzy, was shot dead in Connecticut last Wednesday. Demonte was a lifelong Dolphins fan and had planned to attend Sunday’s game.
Dolphins: LB Trey Flowers injured his foot in the first quarter and did not return. … DE Emmanuel Ogbah went to the locker room in the second quarter with a back injury but later returned. … Nik Needham (foot) was carted off the field in the second quarter and was immediately ruled out. He could not put any weight on his right ankle after suffering an injury covering Thielen. … Keion Crossen (knee) left just before halftime and did not return. … Waddle appeared to hurt his left arm after a 49-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter.
Vikings: Have a bye next week, host Arizona on Oct. 30.
Dolphins: Host Pittsburgh on Oct. 23 at 8:20 p.m.
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