The Minnesota Vikings defeated the New England Patriots 33-26 on Thanksgiving night at U.S. Bank Stadium to bring their record to an impressive 9-2 as the close in on an NFC North title.

It was a close game throughout, with New England appearing to be pulling away when  they took a 23-16 lead in the third quarter. However, that lead didn't last long as the Vikings quickly took back the momentum, thanks to running back Kene Nwangwu and the kickoff return unit.

The Patriots kicked the ball to Nwangwu who quickly sprinted down the sideline on his way to a 97-yard touchdown return. Those heroics played a major part in him earning the National Football League's NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honor. The NFL made the official announcement Wednesday.

As a kick returner, Kene Nwangwu racked up 166 yards on kick returns on Thursday night and his third career touchdown.

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According to the Vikings, his three kickoff return touchdowns rank third in Vikings all-time history behind five each by Percy Harvin and Cordarrelle Patterson.

The Vikings have now had five players win an NFC Player of the Week award under first-year Head Coach Kevin O'Connell:

  • Kicker Greg Joseph (Week 4)
  • Punter Ryan Wright (Week 6)
  • Linebacker Za’Darius Smith (Week 8)
  • Wide Receiver Justin Jefferson (Week 10)

The Vikings will look to improve to 10-2 on the season when they battle the New York Jets Sunday Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Jets are an AFC playoff contender and they bring a tough defense along with an offense that just rolled the Chicago Bears 31-10 on Sunday.

The Vikings and Jets will kickoff at noon on December 4.

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