Murray, Vikings defense plow through Ravens, 24-16
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Even though he was signed to help the Vikings replace Adrian Peterson, Latavius Murray has been behind nearly from the day he stepped foot in Minnesota.
Plowing through the Baltimore Ravens as he did on Sunday should help him catch up in a hurry.
Murray rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown and Kai Forbath kicked six field goals to lift the Vikings to a 24-16 victory over the Ravens.
After making the decision to move on from the face of the franchise, the Vikings signed Murray away from the Oakland Raiders to help fill the void. But ankle surgery kept him out of the entire offseason program, all of training camp and most of the preseason and buried him on the depth chart behind Dalvin Cook, who was lost for the season with a knee injury on Oct. 1, and Jerick McKinnon.
“I just think it was a matter of me just trying to find my rhythm, try to get a groove going,” Murray said after averaging 6.3 yards per carry. “I said eventually I know I would have some success. I knew I had to continue to keep doing what I do and continue to keep working, and hopefully like today, those big runs will pop.”
Forbath made kicks of 52, 51, 43, 43, 34 and 32 yards to back another suffocating effort from the defense for the Vikings (5-2).
Minnesota sacked Joe Flacco five times and allowed just 208 yards. Everson Griffen had two sacks and has nine for the season.
Justin Tucker kicked three field goals for the Ravens (3-4), including a 57-yarder in the first half. Flacco completed 26 of 38 passes for 186 yards and a 13-yard touchdown to Chris Moore as time expired.
“Those clichés like ‘worn down’ and ‘gap control,’ it’s just all meaningless chatter,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after his team gave up 169 yards rushing. “We’ve got to do a better job against the run and get them stopped. They did a good job and we didn’t.”
The nine combined field goals tied an NFL record for most made field goals in a game.
Murray was off to a slow start this season with just 97 yards rushing through the first six games. But he burst through a big hole in the third quarter, made one cut and surged to the end zone to give the Vikings an 18-6 lead.
“It’s good to see him going,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “It adds a dimension on the offense with a guy like Jerick and a guy like him.”
Case Keenum had an erratic afternoon, completing 20 of 31 passes for 188 yards and one interception for the Vikings.
Flacco, who entered the day with a 66.1 rating that was good for 31st in the league, was stuck under 100 yards passing until well into the fourth quarter.
BACK AND FORBATH
The performance Sunday from the Vikings kicker was indicative of his short career here since being brought on last season to replace Blair Walsh. His six makes were one off the Vikings single-game record and he made two of at least 50 yards in the same game for the first time in his career.
“It’s a big momentum boost,” Forbath said of his two from 50-plus. “I’m just trying to help the team however I can.”
But Forbath also missed an extra point, hitting the right upright after Murray’s run. It was his sixth missed extra point in 14 games for Minnesota. He is 12 for 12 on field goals of 40 yards or longer.
Ravens CB Brandon Carr made a brilliant play to nullify the momentum Minnesota had gained by a 46-yard punt return by Marcus Sherels in the first quarter. Keenum’s first play was a deep ball to Laquon Treadwell, but Carr jousted with the 6-foot-2 receiver all the way down the field. Treadwell tried to keep the ball alive, but Carr snatched it out of the air for an interception .
Ravens: WR Mike Wallace left the game with a concussion in the first quarter, further depleting an already thin receiver group that was missing Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman and Chris Matthews.
“Once he went out we weren’t able to really take any deep shots over the top of them for whatever reason, whether it was personnel or what they were giving us up front,” Flacco said. ... DT Brandon Williams played after missing the previous four games with a foot injury.
Vikings: LT Riley Reiff left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and was replaced by Rashod Hill. ... G Jeremiah Sirles, filling in for the injured Nick Easton, hobbled off in the second quarter and did not return because of a knee injury. Danny Isidora played the second half in his place. ... WRs Stefon Diggs and Michael Floyd were both inactive.
The Ravens have a short turnaround, hosting the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night.
The Vikings are off to London, where they will play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday before getting a bye the following week.