The Vikings’ game-tying touchdown Thursday night should not have counted.
Immediately after Mac Jones hit tight end Hunter Henry to give the New England Patriots a 23-16 lead at U.S. Bank Stadium, Kene Nwangwu returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to even the score.
Safety Kyle Dugger appeared to be the player at fault for New England, blowing contain and allowing Nwangwu to find a lane outside of him. Replays, however, clearly showed Vikings fullback C.J. Ham grabbing a handful of Dugger’s shoulder pads, impeding his path to Minnesota’s return man.
No flag was thrown, though, and Nwangwu’s touchdown stood.
Dugger, the Patriots’ talented and versatile third-year defensive back, was to blame for an earlier Vikings touchdown, stumbling on a 1-yard scoring strike to T.J. Hockenson.
The Patriots regained the lead one drive later, getting a 25-yard Nick Folk field goal after an apparent touchdown pass to Henry was disallowed after a video review.