The Vikings said they never panicked and believed they were close getting a win during their first two losses. This time, they stuck with the running game and continued to play well defensively.
The Vikings' slow start to the 2010 season has helped make them the talk of the NFL – for all the wrong reasons. But in their 24-10 win over the Lions, the Vikings finally put all three phases of the game together. The offense was sparked by a 160-yard performance from Adrian Peterson
, the defense got the Lions off the field on three-and-out drives on six of their 12 possessions and the special teams came up with a critical turnover that led to the Vikings' first points of the game.
While the coaches, players and fans were all frustrated with the team's slow start, the Vikings reiterated their mantra of the past week – that they wouldn't hit the panic button.
"We struggled during those first two games, but, when you look at them, we had chances to win both," linebacker Ben Leber
said. "The things we're doing wrong were all things that were correctible. We have a lot of players on this team that can make the difference-making plays. They showed up today."
The Vikings dominated the second half by running the ball 30 times for 183 yards. In the first half they rushed 15 times for 68 yards. They ran 15 times in the second half as well, but, thanks to an 80-yard touchdown run by A.D., gained 115 yards to put the game away.
"We know that we can be a grind-it-out rushing team," guard Anthony Herrera
said. "We get away from it at times, but we needed a win and went with our strength. Today, that meant giving the ball to Adrian and letting him do what he does best."
As the Vikings head into the bye week, they do so with their first win of the season. For the time being, the panic button remains off, but the Vikings know that the road will only get tougher in October than it was in September.
"This win comes at a great time," linebacker Chad Greenway
said. "We didn't want to go into the bye at 0-3 because it's going to be a tough road coming out of the bye. We've got road games against the Jets, Packers and Patriots and a home game against Dallas. Those are all quality teams and we're going to have to keep building on what we did today. Nobody ever hit the panic button and I don't think you'll see that when we come back off the bye. Obviously, this is a good team, and when we keep mistakes to a minimum we're a hard team to beat."
Adrian Peterson had a monster game, rushing 23 times for 160 yards. It was the first time he has had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since December 2008, when he did the trick at Detroit and at Arizona.
The 160 yards for Peterson were the most ever by a Viking against the Lions. It broke the old record of 156 yards gained by Chuck Foreman Dec. 18, 1977.
In four career home games against the Lions, Peterson has topped 100 yards rushing every time, posting totals of 15 carreis for 116 yards and two touchdowns, 25-111-0, 18-133-2 and 23-160-2.
Brett Favre completed 23 of 34 passes for 201 yards with one TD and two interceptions for a passer rating of 68.4. Ten different Vikings caught passes, led by Percy Harvin with six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Peterson had five catches for 30 yards.
Favre has never lost a home game to the Lions in his career with the Vikings and Packers.
The Vikings have won the last six meetings with Detroit, 15 of the last 16 and 20 of the last 22.
Lions QB Shaun Hill completed 29 of 43 passes for 237 yards with one TD, two interceptions and a passer rating of 69.6.
Jahvid Best was held in check, rushing just seven times for 26 yards before leaving the game with a turf toe injury. The other Lions running backs combined for eight carries for 10 yards.
Calvin Johnson was held largely in check, catching six passes for 56 yards, with three of those catches coming in the final minutes against a prevent defense.
Chris Cook made his NFL debut against Johnson, a player he battled in college. "I was so nervous before the game that I was shaking," Cook said. "But I settled in once the game started. I wasn't intimidated by Calvin because we've gone after each other in college and I think I held up pretty well against him."
Both Cook and Cedric Griffin made their return to the lineup after each missed the first two games due to knee surgeries.
Most of the damage came from the Lions tight ends in the passing game. Tony Scheffler led all receivers with seven catches, good for 60 yards, and Brandon Pettigrew caught six passes for 44 yards.
The Vikings held another opponent under 300 yards of total offense. Detroit gained 295 yards (232 passing, 66 rushing), while the Vikings gained 368 yards (201 passing, 183 rushing).
Both teams struggled on third downs. The Vikings converted just three of 11 third-down chances, while the Lions made good on just three of 12.
The Lions entered the game having converted all five of their red zone opportunities into touchdowns. They scored a TD on their first red zone possession, but went 0-for-3 after that point, coming away with a field goal on one possession and having two drives ended with interceptions.
The Vikings got interceptions from Ben Leber and Antoine Winfield. Entering the game, the Vikings were one of just five teams that didn't have an interception through the first two weeks of the season.
The Vikings' punt coverage unit continues to be very solid. Among the league leaders in punt return yardage, Chris Kluwe punted five times. Of those, only one was returned and it was returned for no yardage.
The Vikings had a whopping 12 penalties for 100 yards and the Lions had eight penalties for 67 yards. What makes the stat even more worrisome is that there were three plays in which offsetting penalties occurred and two other plays in which penalties were declined.
A fight broke out in the third quarter as Ray Edwards went after guard Rob Sims, whom Edwards claimed gave a cheap shot to Jared Allen.
"I don't mind mixing it up," Edwards said. "I was just protecting a teammate. (Sims) speared Jared and I wasn't going to allow that to happen."
The NFL fine police will likely get involved in the incident, since punches were thrown and several players got involved in the ensuing scrum.
Prior to his 80-yard touchdown run, Peterson had 53 yards rushing with 3:14 to play in the third quarter. His long TD gave him 133 yards at the time.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe tweaked a hamstring in the third quarter and was sidelined. He would finish with just one catch for seven yards.
The Vikings held a slim edge in yardage at halftime, gaining 166 yards (98 passing, 68 rushing), as opposed to 152 yards for Detroit (95 passing, 57 rushing). The Vikings were just 1-for-5 on third down and Detroit was little better – making good on 2 of 7 third-down opportunities.
Favre completed 12 of 16 passes in the first half for 106 yards with one TD and two interceptions for a passer rating of 73.4. Peterson had 13 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown and Harvin led the way among the receiver corps, catching four passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Hill completed 12 of 18 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first half, giving him a passer rating of 98.1 Best had six carries for 25 yards to lead the ground attack and Scheffler caught four passes for 27 yards and a TD to lead the receivers.
With his two points in the first half of the game, Ryan Longwell moved into sixth place on the all time scoring list, passing running back Bill Brown, who scored 456 points.
Everyone at the Metrodome got a scare when Favre went down after getting drilled by defensive end Cliff Avril. The Lions recovered the fumble, but linebacker Julian Peterson was called for unnecessary roughness and the Vikings were allowed to retain possession. With Favre banged up, Peterson took over, carrying five times for 28 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown run to give the Vikings a 14-7 lead.
The Vikings' 14 points with 4:44 to play in the first half was already the most points they had scored in a game this season.
Best had a very solid drive after struggling early. In a drive that moved from the first to the second quarter, Best had three carries for 24 yards and a 15-yard run up the middle was called back due to a holding penalty.
The Vikings dominated the first-quarter stats, gaining 86 yards (50 passing, 36 rushing) as opposed to 39 for Detroit (23 passing, 16 rushing). Neither team was overly impressive on third down – the Vikings were 0-of-3 on third down while Detroit converted just one of four chances.
Individually in the first quarter, Favre completed five of eight passes for 50 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Peterson ran seven times for 26 yards and Harvin led the passing attack with two catches for 29 yards and a touchdown.
The Vikings got their first points of the game in the final minute of the first quarter. Punt returner Stefan Logan muffed a Kluwe punt by getting into poor position and reaching out to catch the ball. Chad Greenway recovered the fumble and, on the very next play, a busted coverage on defense allowed Harvin to get wide open and catch a 24-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
Favre was intercepted for the fifth time this season on a screen intended for rookie Toby Gerhart that led to the game's first points. Defensive tackle Corey Williams bounced down the line of scrimmage in coverage and pulled in the lofted screen from Favre and brought the ball all the way back to the 12-yard line. Three plays later, Hill cashed in with a touchdown to tight end Tony Scheffler.
The Vikings shot themselves in the foot early, committing five penalties in the first quarter alone, including three penalties in the span of two plays that killed the second offensive drive of the game. Minnesota finished the game with 12 penalties for 100 yards.
Greg Camarillo had a 30-yard punt return in the first quarter that would have let the Vikings offense open from the Detroit 40-yard line. Instead, a holding call on Jasper Brinkley on the other side of the play pushed the Vikings back to their own 29-yard line – in essence a 31-yard penalty.
Center John Sullivan went down with a recurrence of his calf injury on the first offensive play. He was replaced by Ryan Cook.
After allowing touchdowns on the opening drive in each of their first two games, on Sunday the Vikings forced the Lions into a three-and-out.
The paid attendance was 63,337, the 130th straight sellout at the Metrodome.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.