Falcons hold off Vikings' rally

Matt Ryan threw his third touchdown pass in the line stand to secure a 24-14 victory over the Vikings.

Ryan completed 27-of-34 passes for 262 yards to help the Falcons (7-4) stay in the thick of the NFC South race. They entered Sunday a game behind New Orleans, which hosts the New York Giants on Monday night.

Atlanta got off to a dominant start against Minnesota, racing out to a 17-0 halftime lead.

But Christian Ponder and the Vikings' offense overcame that slow start to get back into the game. He completed a long touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to Percy Harvin, who also nearly returned a kickoff for a touchdown after Ryan's scoring pass to Michael Palmer had given the Falcons a 24-14 advantage with 6:40 to play.

Harvin reached the Atlanta three-yard line on the return, but the Falcons stopped Toby Gerhart on 4th-and-goal from the one to send the Vikings (2-9) to their third consecutive loss.