Vikings Turn in Impressive Team Win

The Vikings had all aspects of their game working on Sunday in a convincing 42-10 win over the Detroit Lions. The offense was extremely efficient on its way to a 35-10 halftime win, and the defense and special teams also contributed in the team effort.

Brad Childress' offense is starting to live up to his "kick-ass expectations." It may have taken desperate times in the 2007 season to have those words from the end of the 2006 season come to pass, but the Minnesota Vikings finally look like they could be a complete team.

The Vikings used an offense that gained 443 yards, a defense that limited the Detroit Lions to 254 yards, forced four fumbles, had three sacks and one interception and the special teams that produced a team-record 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for a dominating 42-10 win over the Lions.

The victory marked the third straight win for the Vikings and fourth consecutive loss for the Lions, and it tied the two teams in the chase for the final wild card spot with 6-6 records each.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had his first career game with a passer rating of more than 100 (he registered a 110.4 rating) on 18 of 24 passes for 204 yards. It also marked rookie Adrian Peterson's return to action after sitting out the last two games with a torn lateral collateral ligament, and he produced 116 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 15 carries before being pulled from the game midway through the third quarter – a decision he lobbied against but said "when the head man says you're done, you stop your argument."

There wasn't much arguing the success the Vikings had on defense either, as it pitched a second-half shutout despite Detroit abandoning the run early in the game – offensive coordinator Mike Martz called for only seven rushes the entire day. And Aundrae Allison's 103-yard kickoff return followed Detroit's only touchdown of the game and turned a 14-10 lead into a 21-10 lead that quickly became a 35-10 halftime lead.

Detroit opened the game by pushing the ball near midfield with completions of 11 yards to Mike Furrey, 12 to Roy Williams and 6 to Shaun McDonald, but passes batted down by Cedric Griffin and Kenechi Udeze brought an end to the opening drive.

The Vikings offense went backwards on its first two plays, but it looked very solid the rest of the first half. On the team's initial third down, Taylor needed 14 yards and got 15 on a draw. Jackson then connected with Wade for 12 and 17 yards before Peterson broke off a 28-yard run to the 16-yard line, and it didn't take long to capitalize. Taylor had a 14-yard run to the left that he followed with a 2-yard touchdown run, again to Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson's side. Halfway through the first quarter, the Vikings had a 7-0 lead.

The Lions responded with an 11-play drive that featured only two rushing plays and yielded a field goal. They did it with an intermediate passing game in which two 11-yard completions were the longest plays and got them to the 18-yard line. From there, however, they had to settle for a 37-yard field goal from Jason Hanson with 1:57 left in the first quarter.

But all cylinders started clicking from that point, with the offense, defense and special teams contributing heavily to a record-tying number of points in the first half.

Peterson started the Vikings' second drive with a 10-yard run, and Sidney Rice moved the chains again with a 13-yard third-down reception, but it was Allison that had the big play of the drive. On first-and-10, he caught a short pass and weaved his way through traffic for a 35-yard gain down the left sideline. The Vikings wiggled their way for one more first down into the red zone before Peterson took a handoff and cut his way back to a 16-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead with 11:23 left in the half.

The Lions responded with back-to-back explosive plays – both going to Roy Williams. Kitna connected with him for 24 yards and followed that with a 43-yard pass to the 6-yard line. One play later, Casey FitzSimmons was catching a 1-yard touchdown pass to bring the Lions within four points, 14-10, with 9:37 to play in the first half.

The close game wouldn't last much longer. Allison took the ensuing kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown for the longest play in franchise history, giving the Vikings a 21-10 lead.

When the defense forced the Lions off the field in three plays – the last being a 12-yard sack by Jayme Mitchell – and the offense responded with a 10-play touchdown drive, the rout was on.

Peterson and Jackson did the bulk of the work early on Minnesota's next drive, each using his feet for first downs – Jackson running for 22 yards on three carries and Peterson getting 14 yards on two runs. Two plays after Jackson's final run, he found Wade for a 6-yard touchdown and a 28-10 lead.

On the Lions' next series, Kenechi Udeze took advantage of a play in which Ray Edwards altered Kitna's throw with a tug of the shoulder pads as the quarterback was releasing the ball. Udeze made the interception of the floating pass and rumbled 37 yards to the 32-yard line.

Peterson (on a rush) and Richardson (on a reception) combined to bring the ball to the 5-yard line and, after a Detroit penalty, Rice went high for a 2-yard touchdown reception and a 35-10 lead that the Vikings took to the locker room.

The second half held little intrigue and little scoring, but the Vikings took the opening drive and scored the final points of the game.

Peterson ran twice for 14 yards before Jackson went to Rice for a 22-yard pass play. Peterson and Rice continued move the ball to the 13-yard line, and Peterson capped the drive with a 13-yard run to the left for a touchdown and a 42-10 lead – the final points of the game with 10:06 still left to play in the third quarter.

The rest of the way, the defense forced two fumbles on the same drive – one that was overruled on a challenge and another that the Lions recovered following a sack. Still, the Lions ended up punting away all three of their second-half possessions to extend their losing streak to four games and the Vikings' winning streak to three.

Three weeks ago, Minnesota's playoff hopes were left for dead, but after their early-game win against the Lions they were 6-6 and holding at least a tie with the Lions for the final wild card spot. An unlikely scenario before the Vikings showed up as a potentially emerging team the last three weeks.

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