Vikings and Lions provided oddities and angst

The Vikings and Lions combined for strange records and first-time occurrences. Adrian Peterson and Reggie Bush did most of the entertaining and record-breaking.

In the Minnesota Vikings' storied 53-year history, Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions has to find a place among the oddest.

It seems like many of the strange games come against the Vikings' other divisional opponents. From deflected passes being caught by a Green Bay Packers receiver laying on the ground and then running into the end zone to Devin Hester returning kicks and the Bears defense confounding the Vikings with unconventional touchdowns, there has been a lot of frustration for Vikings fans over the years in the NFC North and old NFC Central.

Sunday's game in Detroit brought about more angst and oddities.

It didn't take long for strange brew to begin. With the NFL's 2012 leaders in rushing yardage (Adrian Peterson) and receiving yardage (Calvin Johnson) going against each other, it only figured they would be involved.

Johnson was notable on Sunday for what he didn't accomplish. It appeared he had a touchdown reception on the Lions' first drive, but a rule he made famous – having to maintain control of the ball through the catch – bit him once again. After diving into the end zone, the ball shifted in his hands when it hit the ground and the touchdown was overturned. The exasperation was written all over his face when the official made the announcement of no touchdown, and Detroit followed with a bobbled snap that never allowed David Akers to kick a short field goal.

Johnson later had another near touchdown taken away when he didn't drag both feet in the end zone.

But it was the running backs that would provide the scoring drama in this game.

Adrian Peterson took the first Vikings play from scrimmage 78 yards for a touchdown. Turns out, that was the longest touchdown run on a player's first carry of the season since the 1970 NFL merger.

In the third quarter, Lions RB Reggie Bush took a screen pass 77 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest touchdown from scrimmage by a player making his Lions debut since Earl McCullough caught a 78-yard pass in the 1968 season opener. Both McCullough and Bush were first-round draft picks out of USC.

Peterson and Bush's big plays combined for another unique mark in history.

It was the first time since 1971 that opposing players had touchdowns scrimmage of 75 yards or more on Kickoff Weekend. Dallas' Bob Hayes and Buffalo's Marlin Briscoe did that 42 years ago.

Bush also became the first player with at least 100 yards receiving and 90 yards rushing in his first game with a new team since San Diego's Cid Edwards in 1972.

Peterson ended up scoring all three of the Vikings' touchdowns, the second time he has had three touchdowns in the Minnesota's opener (2009 being the other time). The only other NFL players to do that twice in openers were Gary Famiglietti of the Bears (1942 and 1945), Hugh Taylor of the Redskins (1947 and 1950), and Priest Holmes of the Chiefs (2002 and 2004).

Peterson's 93 rushing yards gave him 8,942 yards on the ground in his career. That's the third-highest total by a player in the first 90 games of his career. Only Eric Dickerson (9,915) and Jim Brown (9,322) had more.

Other oddities and big days from the Lions' 34-24 win:

  • Peterson gained 78 yards on his first carry of the game, then was held to 15 yards on his next 17 carries.

  • Peterson now has 19 games with two rushing touchdowns, the most by anyone in the NFL since 2007 (Tennessee's Chris Johnson has 13).

  • Bush's 77-yard touchdown catch was the longest of his career in the regular season.

  • Bush has 372 receptions since joining the NFL in 2006, the most by any running back in that span, according to the Oakland Press.

  • QB Matthew Stafford threw for 357 yards, the second-highest total by a Lions quarterback on opening day (Bobby Layne had 364 in 1953). It was Stafford's third 300-yard passing game on opening day, and he has three of the Lions' top five highest passing performances on opening day. He is also only the second player in Lions history to surpass the 13,000-yard mark for passing (Bobby Layne has 15,710).

  • Prior to Sunday, the last time the Vikings and Lions met in the opener was 1996, when the Vikings won 17-13.

  • This weekend marked the first time in NFL history that the Lions, Saints and Seahawks all won their opening games in the same season, according to Elias Sport Bureau. It's also the first time since 1986 that the Vikings, Packers and Steelers all lost their opener.

  • Since 1990, 54 percent of the teams to start 1-0 make the playoffs, according to ESPN. Only 25 percent of the teams that start 0-1 make it.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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