MINNEAPOLIS - Kirk Cousins connected with a wide-open K.J. Osborn for the go-ahead, 28-yard touchdown with 45 seconds remaining, and the Minnesota Vikings rallied to beat the Detroit Lions 28-24 on Sunday.
Osborn blew by former Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes on a corner route to snag the in-stride pass and cruise across the goal line to give Minnesota (2-1) the lead for the first time.
As Osborn and Justin Jefferson — who was blanketed by rising star Jeff Okudah and had just three catches for 14 yards — flapped their arms to fire up the crowd while standing on the bench, the Vikings didn't let Jared Goff and the Lions cross midfield.
Dalvin Cook rushed for 96 yards and a score before leaving with a shoulder injury for the Vikings, who fell behind 14-0 and 24-14. Their final push against an extra-aggressive Lions team that frequently sent multiple extra pass rushers at Cousins and went for it six times on fourth down proved to be just enough to give them a winning record at the end of September for the first time since they were 3-0 in 2016.
After going 3-13-1 in coach Dan Campbell's first season, Detroit (1-2) looks like a much more dangerous opponent. The Lions are still seeking their first road win since Dec. 6, 2020, at Chicago, though. Their NFL-record streak of starting a season with a touchdown in 11 straight quarters ended inconveniently in the fourth.
On the Lions' sixth fourth-down attempt of the game, with 1 yard to go from the Vikings 30, Jamaal Williams ran off right tackle and was slammed to a stop for no gain by a swarm of Vikings.
After Minnesota also turned the ball over on downs, a stiffened Vikings defense steered Campbell into calling for a 54-yard field-goal try that Austin Seibert missed with 1:10 left.
That gave the Vikings the ball at their 44 to start the winning drive, and Osborn accounted for all 56 yards. Cousins connected with him on second-and-10 for 28 yards. After a Detroit timeout, he caught the winning score on the next play.
Greg Joseph missed two 56-yard field goal attempts for the Vikings. Seibert had a 48-yarder bounce off the right upright to end Detroit's first drive.
Williams had 20 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions, who gave limited action to D'Andre Swift after he was listed as questionable with an ankle injury.
With his 1-yard catch that put the Vikings on the board midway through the second quarter, Adam Thielen became the fourth undrafted player since the Super Bowl era began in 1967 to reach 50 career touchdown receptions. Antonio Gates, Rod Smith and Wes Welker were the others.
Thielen gave Amani Oruwariye all kinds of trouble. The Lions cornerback was called for six penalties. One was declined after a 15-yard catch by Thielen right after the fourth-down stop on Williams. Oruwariye appeared to get away with another one, when a fourth-and-8 throw by Cousins to the sideline was off target after Thielen was entangled with his defender and then angrily argued for a call to the official.
Lions: S Tracy Walker (ankle) left on a cart in the first quarter and didn't return. ... With LG Jonah Jackson (finger) out for a second straight game, Dan Skipper started in his place. Logan Stenberg was benched at RG for Evan Brown. C Frank Ragnow returned after missing last week with a toe injury. Another would-be starter, RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (back), has not played yet this season.
Vikings: S Harrison Smith (concussion) was held out, giving Josh Metellus his first career start. He intercepted a desperation heave by Goff at the 5-yard line to seal it with 9 seconds left.
Lions: Host Seattle next Sunday. The Lions have lost four straight games to the Seahawks. Their last win was in the series was 10 years ago in Detroit.
Vikings: Travel to London to play New Orleans next Sunday, the first of five international games on the NFL schedule. This one is considered a home game for the Saints.