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5 things that stood out in the Vikings' win over the Raiders

Josh Metellus and Ivan Pace Jr. continue to shine.
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Minnesota's 3-0 win over the Raiders marked the 60th game in NFL history to end in a final score of 3-0, and it was the first since the Steelers beat the Dolphins  by that margin in 2007.

That means that NFL teams since 2008 are 1-255-2 when scoring 3 or fewer points, and the Vikings are that lone 1 in the Win-Loss column. 

Beyond Justin Jefferson going to the hospital with a chest injury and the historical offensive ineptitude between the Vikings and Raiders, here are five things that stood out. 

1. Not much of a QB controversy anymore

Nick Mullens replacing Josh Dobbs in the fourth quarter and leading the Vikings to a win in crunch time may very well quiet any thought of a quarterback controversy. The Vikings now have five games of film on Dobbs, who was magical in wins over the Falcons and Saints but has falling back to earth in three straight games against the Broncos, Bears and Raiders. 

Dobbs was 10-of-23 for 67 yards when head coach Kevin O'Connell called on Mullens with 10 minutes to go in Vegas. Mullens completed 9-of-13 attempts for 83 yards, including three key first downs on the drive that set up kicker Greg Joseph for the only score of the game. 

Dobbs was fortunate that a couple of his passes weren't intercepted and he played a role in Justin Jefferson getting hit so hard that he was taken to a local hospital after making a catch on a high throw from Dobbs over the middle. 

Head coach Kevin O'Connell hasn't named his starter for Saturday at Cincinnati, but Mullens certainly seems like the favorite. 

2. Max Crosby owned Brian O'Neill

Crosby sacked Dobbs twice in the first half, both of them coming against O'Neill. On the first one, Crosby bull-rushed O'Neill and forced O'Neill into a holding penalty, which was declined because Crosby got the sack. 

The second sack knocked O'Neill out of the game as Crosby against put two hands into O'Neill's chest and moved him backwards, with O'Neill appearing to suffer an injury when he planted his right foot on the play. 

O'Neill was ruled out with an ankle injury and his status going forward is unknown. 

3. The highlight of the game was a punt

There were 17 punts between the Vikings and Raiders, who nearly became the first teams to go to overtime tied at zero. Of all the punts, one stood out amongst them all: AJ Cole's 83-yard punt in the second half. 

The line of scrimmage was the 17-yard line and Cole booted it into the end zone on the opposite side of the field. Though the 83-yard punt is the longest in the NFL since 2000 (according to Raiders PR), the touchback gave it a net of just 63 yards. 

4. Josh Metellus and Ivan Pace Jr. making plays

Metellus made one of the biggest plays of the game in the third quarter when he forced a fumble after the Raiders drove deep into Minnesota territory. 

Renfrow's catch-and-run of 38 yards got the Raiders a first down at the 11-yard line. Two plays later Renfrow fumbled after taking a hit from Metellus and the Vikings recovered to keep Las Vegas off the scoreboard. 

Metellus and Danielle Hunter are tied for the team lead with four forced fumbles this season, which ranks third most in the NFL. 

Meanwhile, Ivan Pace Jr. had a sack and the game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter. The rookie, who was undrafted after starring at Cincinnati, had 11 of his team-high 13 tackles in the first half.

5. Win keeps Minnesota's NFC North hopes alive

It was ugly, but Sunday was a thing of beauty for Minnesota's playoff chances. 

At 7-6, the Vikings own the second of three NFC wild-card spot. Green Bay (6-6) is in the final spot pending their game Monday night against the Giants. And thanks to the Seahawks and Rams losing on Sunday, there are five teams – Rams, Seahawks, Saints, Buccaneers and Falcons – on the outside looking in at 6-7. 

More importantly, the Vikings are still alive in the NFC North after the Lions lost to the Bears. Detroit (9-4) is two games ahead of the Vikings with two head-to-head matchups looming, the first on Christmas Eve in Minneapolis and the second in the regular season finale on Jan. 7 in Detroit. 

Ivan Pace Jr.

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) celebrates after an interception against the Las Vegas Raiders in the second half at Allegiant Stadium.