The quick turnaround and the short week initially proved to be too much for the Steelers.
The Vikings did, too.
Minnesota missed a 53-yard field goal at the conclusion of the game's first possession, then scored the next four times it had the football and built a 23-0 halftime lead but had to hang on at the end to secure a 36-28 decision over the Steelers on Thursday night at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Steelers fell to 6-6-1.
The Vikings improved to 6-7.
The Steelers didn't get on the scoreboard until running back Najee Harris caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with 2:11 left in the third quarter. Harris' third touchdown reception of the season finished off a 10-play, 75-yard drive in 4:04. Kicker Chris Boswell's extra point cut the Vikings' lead to 29-7.
The Steelers got the ball back again on the next play when inside linebacker Devin Bush tipped a pass that deflected off wide receiver Justin Jefferson and was intercepted by cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.
The turnover was turned into a seven-play, 42-yard touchdown drive in 2:14. Harris finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run, the sixth rushing touchdown of his rookie season. Boswell's extra point drew the Steelers to within 29-14 with 14:49 left in the fourth quarter.
The defense responded with a three-and-out and the offense struck again.
Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Diontae Johnson for 37 yards and then wide receiver James Washington for a 30-yard touchdown on the last two snaps of a three-play, 69-yard scoring march in 1:06.
Roethlisberger completed a pass to Johnson on a two-point conversion attempt, but Johnson was tackled short of the goal line. That kept the Vikings' lead at 29-20 with 2:11 left in the fourth.
The Vikings finally countered on a 62-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver K.J. Osborn. Kicker Greg Joseph's extra point increased Minnesota's lead to 16 at 36-20.
But another interception by Witherspoon and 41-yard return to the Vikings' 21-yard line set the Steelers up again.
Roethlisberger cashed in on the opportunity with a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Pat Freiermuth. A second two-point conversion pass from Roethlisberger to Johnson found the end zone this time and brought the Steelers to within 36-28 with 4:14 left in regulation
The Steelers got the ball back at their 2 with 2:16 left in the fourth following a punt.
They reached the Vikings' 12 with three seconds left in the fourth but Roethlisberger's pass into the end zone was knocked from Freiermuth's grasp by safety Harrison Smith.
The Steelers had a chance to grab a 3-0 lead on their first possession, but Boswell missed a 49-yard field goal attempt.
It snapped a streak of 20 consecutive field goals for Boswell.
It was all Minnesota for the rest of the first half.
The Vikings ended up with 15 first downs and 300 total net yards in the first two quarters, including 176 yards on 18 rushing attempts. Running back Dalvin Cook accounted for 153 of Minnesota's yards on the ground on 14 attempts (a 10.9 average). Cook scored touchdowns on runs of 29 and 7 yards.
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 14 game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium
The Steelers managed five first downs, 66 total net yards and converted one of seven third down attempts in the first 30 minutes.
The Vikings responded to Boswell's miss with a five-play, 61-yard drive in 2:01 that ended on an 14-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Jefferson. Joseph missed the extra point, which kept the score at 6-0 with 3:31 left in the first quarter.
Joseph connected on a 38-yard field goal at the end of the Vikings' next possession. The drive covered 37 yards on seven plays in 2:02 and gave Minnesota a 9-0 lead with 14:43 left in the second quarter.
The Vikings struck again on Cook's 29-yard touchdown run with 9:55 remaining prior to halftime. Joseph's extra point gave the Vikings a 16-0 lead. The Vikings gained 47 yards on three carries on the five-play, 78-yard drive in 3:06.
The Vikings' final scoring drive in the first half lasted 12 plays and covered 60 yards in 5:19. It ended on Cook's 7-yard touchdown run. Joseph's extra point increased the Vikings' lead to 23-0 with 2:20 remaining before the break.
Joseph added a 42-yard field goal at the end of a possession in the third quarter that began at the Steelers' 34 following a 41-yard punt and 15-yard return. That upped the Minnesota lead to 26-0 with 9:36 left in the third.
Another short field turned into points for the Vikings after cornerback Bashaud Breeland intercepted Roethlisberger and returned the ball 18 yards to the Steelers' 30.
A 25-yard field goal by Joseph, his third of the night, made it 29-0 Vikings with 6:15 left in the third.
The Steelers played without cornerback Joe Haden (foot) for the fourth consecutive game.
They lost outside linebacker T.J. Watt (groin) in the first half and outside linebacker Alex Highsmith (knee) in the third quarter.
John Leglue started at left guard, his first NFL start.