MINNEAPOLIS, DEC. 22 -- Jay Schroeder passed for four touchdowns and 234 yards today at the Metrodome as the Los Angeles Raiders defeated Minnesota, 28-24, moving within one game of their first AFC West title since 1985 and eliminating the Vikings from the playoff race.
The Raiders (11-4), who have won four straight, can win the division with either a victory against San Diego next week or with one loss by Kansas City, which plays at San Diego on Sunday and at Chicago next week. Los Angeles already is guaranteed at least a wild-card berth.
Schroeder, who completed 10 of 15 passes, has more touchdown passes in his last three games (10) than he had in his first 12 (eight). Before throwing three in each of his previous two games, he went 20 straight quarters without a touchdown pass.
"I told everyone in training camp that you can judge me by the wins and losses," Schroeder said.
The Vikings (6-9), who have lost three in a row, will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1986. The Vikings were 8-0 at home last season when they won the NFC Central, but are 4-3 at the Metrodome this year.
Minnesota quarterback Wade Wilson separated his right (throwing) shoulder in the third quarter after being sacked by Scott Davis. Wilson, who completed 11 of 19 passes for 162 yards, was making his first start since a Sept. 23 thumb injury.
Schroeder's 61-yard pass to Willie Gault in the fourth quarter set up a three-yard scoring toss to Ethan Horton as the Raiders took a 28-10 lead.
The Vikings closed to 28-24 when Rich Gannon threw a four-yard pass to Hassan Jones with 5:49 left and a three-yarder to Steve Jordan with 15 seconds remaining.
Schroeder got the Raiders going on the game's first play, faking a pitch to Marcus Allen and connecting with Gault for 56 yards. Three plays later he lofted a 17-yard scoring pass to Mervyn Fernandez.