MINNEAPOLIS - Should the Vikings find themselves in the playoffs - or atop the NFC North - at the end of the regular season, the quality of their performance against Washington on Thursday night won't have any bearing on their final record. And as they improved to 6-2 with a 19-9 victory Thursday night, the Vikings could take solace in the fact their issues weren't unseemly enough to cost them a game against a lowly opponent.
Whatever issues the Vikings had at U.S. Bank Stadium - whether they were with cornerback Xavier Rhodes in pass coverage or their interior offensive line - were ameliorated by the fact they were facing a 1-6 Redskins team that began with little to play for and finished the night without their starting quarterback. Case Keenum entered the concussion protocol between the second and third quarters of the game, putting rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the game the rest of the way.
Washington's early inability to finish red-zone drives allowed the Vikings to build their lead with quick throws to Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs, and work around the fact they didn't have Adam Thielen because of a hamstring injury. Diggs' 143 receiving yards gave him 452 in the Vikings' past three games, breaking Randy Moss' team record for the most receiving yards in three consecutive games.
Diggs went over 100 yards early in the second quarter on a drive where the Vikings went ahead 16-6 on Dan Bailey's third field goal, a 27-yarder. Washington's Dustin Hopkins kicked his third field goal of the game, this one a 43-yarder, to make it 16-9 with 5:11 left in the third.
The Vikings failed on a fourth-and-2 sneak by Cousins at their own 34 on their next possession, but Anthony Harris intercepted Haskins and the Vikings got the ball right back at the end of the third quarter. Bailey capped a penalty-filled 12-play drive with a 40-yard field goal for a 19-9 edge.
The game marked the return of former Vikings Keenum and Adrian Peterson. Keenum had an efficient first half, hitting 12 of 16 for 130 yards, but fumbled twice, losing one. Keenum, however, suffered a concussion and gave way in the second half to Haskins. It was the second NFL game for the former Ohio State star, the 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
Peterson has been rejuvenated under interim coach Bill Callahan. With a 29-yard run in the third quarter, he moved into sixth place on the NFL's career rushing list.
Cook scored on a 4-yard run with seven seconds left in the first half to give the Vikings a 13-6 lead. The 75-yard drive started with two minutes left in the half, and Cook did most of the dirty work, including a 31-yard catch-and-run.
Each team had two field goals before the game's first touchdown.
Cousins found Diggs for a 32-yard reception on the Vikings' first possession, but the veteran receiver lost his third fumble of the season. The Vikings got the ball right back, though, when Danielle Hunter sacked Keenum and Shamar Stephen recovered. Bailey's 50-yard field goal gave the Vikings a 3-0 lead.
Washington drove 53 yards, helped by a Xavier Rhodes pass interference call at the 2, and Hopkins kicked a 21-yard field goal to tie the game.
Cousins and Diggs connected on a 34-yarder to get the Vikings deep into Washington territory early in the second quarter, but the drive stalled thanks to two sacks and Bailey kicked a 29-yarder for a 6-3 Vikings lead.
The Redskins responded with another drive that ended in a tying field goal from Hopkins, this one from 30.