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Vikings Blank Raiders, 3-0; Pierce: "It is Shocking"

The Las Vegas Raiders (5-8) fell to the Minnesota Vikings (7-6), 3-0, in an anemic offensive performance that Antonio Pierce admitted, "It is shocking."

LAS VEGAS, Nev.--The Las Vegas Raiders’ slim chance to make the NFL playoffs is almost none.

Greg Joseph kicked a 36-yard field goal with 1:57 left in the game to give the Minnesota Vikings a 3-0 victory over the Silver and Black in a classic defensive struggle on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

The Raiders (5-8) lost their third consecutive game after winning the first two under Interim Coach Antonio Pierce, who took over the job when Coach Josh McDaniels was fired on Halloween.

“No excuses there,” Pierce said after the Raiders lost coming off their bye week. “It is shocking. We hadlenty of time to prepare for an opponent. They did nothing new. It was poor coaching, a poor performance by the players.”

The Silver and Black were shut out for the first time since a 24-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints last season at the Louisiana Superdome and were trying to blank a team for the first time since a 15-0 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland Coliseum in 2012.

This was the lowest-scoring game in the Raiders’ 64-year history since a 6-0 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Oakland in 1975, and for a while, this threatened to be the first scoreless tie since a game between the Detroit Lions and New York Giants in 1943 -- before NFL had overtime.

Minnesota Vikings blank Las Vegas Raiders, 3-0; Antonio Pierce: "It was shocking"

Minnesota Vikings blank Las Vegas Raiders, 3-0; Antonio Pierce: "It was shocking"

Quarterback Nick Mullens, who was with the Raiders during training camp last season before being traded to the Vikings (7-6), took over for starter Josh Dobbs in the fourth quarter and led Minnesota from its 26-yard line to the Raiders’ 18 to set up the field goal by Joseph, who missed a 49-yarder wide to the right in the second quarter.

Mullens completed 9 of 13 passes for 83 in three possessions in the fourth quarter.

“You never know when your name is going to be called, but you prepare and work as hard as you can and trust that there’s a plan out there for you,” Mullens said. “I did that, stepped in. The guys did an incredible job. ... It doesn’t matter what it looks like, a win is a win.”

The Raiders’ last desperation chance came when rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw an interception to safety Ivan Pace Jr. at the Las Vegas 34-yard-line on the first play from scrimmage after Joseph’s game-winning field goal.

The best chance the Raiders had to score came on their first possession in the third quarter, when O’Connell hit wide receiver Hunter Renfrow with a 38-yard pass to the Minnesota 11-yard-line. However, guard Dylan Parham was called for holding on second down, and on the next play, O’Connell threw a short pass to Renfrow, whose fumble was recovered by cornerback Mekhi Blackmon on the 16-yard-line.

The Vikings finished with 231 total offensive yards and 16 first downs while punting nine times, while the Raiders had only 202 yards and eight first downs (two in the second half), while AJ Cole punted eight times for a 54.1-yard average, including one kick that went 83 yards to the end zone.

The Raiders played without standout left tackle Kolton Miller, who was sidelined for the third time in thee last four games because of a shoulder injury.

O’Connell completed 21-of-32 passes for 171 yards and an interception while being sacked four times, while the Raiders lost two fumbles. Wide receiver Davante Adams led Las Vegas with seven receptions for only 53 yards, Renfrow had three catches for 46 yards, and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers caught five balls for only 25 yards.

Josh Jacobs, the defending NFL champion who had two 100-yard games recently, struggled again early in the season with 13 carries for only 34 yards before leaving the game in the fourth quarter because of a knee injury.

Dobbs struggled by completing only 10-of-23 passes for 63 yards and was sacked five times before being yanked in favor of Mullins, while tight end T.J. Hockenson led the Vikings with five receptions for 53 yards, including three for 19 yards on the game-winning drive.

Running back Alexander Mattison led Minnesota with 66 yards on ten carries before sustaining an ankle injury on the first play of the second half and being forced to leave the game.

Raiders’ Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby, while still playing despite a knee injury, made ten tackles, including four quarterback hits, three tackles for losses, and two sacks to give him a career-high 13.5 this year and 51 in under five full seasons.

Linebacker Robert Spillane also had ten tackles, two for losses, and a sack. In comparison, safety Marcus Epps made four tackles; cornerback Jack Jones, safety Tre’Von Moehrig, and linebacker Divine Deablo all made five stops. Rookie defensive end Tyree Wilson had four tackles and a sack.

In addition to his interception, Pace led the game with 13 tackles, including a sack, while safety Josh Metellus had seven tackles and forced Renfrow’s fumble.

The Raiders begin the final four-game stretch of the regular season this week on Thursday Night Football at Allegiant Stadium against the AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers, who defeated the Silver and Black, 24-17, earlier this season at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

Then Las Vegas goes on the road for two games, playing the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who a few weeks ago downed the Raiders, 31-17, for a game on Christmas Day at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City before the Silver and Black meet the Indianapolis Colts on New Year’s Eve at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The Raiders’ final game of the regular season will be against the AFC West rival Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 17, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The Silver and Black defeated the Broncos, 17-16, in the season opener at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver.

Raider Nation can only hope there is more after that.

The Silver and Black will turn around quickly and host their AFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers, on Thursday, December 14, at 8:15 p.m. EST/5:15 p.m. PST.

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