Notebook: Offensive takes and double-takes

Head coach Brad Childress will take the win, but some of the offensive players were a little more critical of how things are going after a last-second field goal was needed to squeak out a 12-10 win over winless Detroit. Plus, see what the specialists and linemen had to say about miscues and corrections, and an explanation on not going for a two-point conversion.

It wasn't so long ago that the cheer was, "Let's go, Vi-kings," followed by a clap, clap, clap-clap-clap. During the second half of the Vikings' 12-10 win over the Detroit Lions – during which Minnesota trailed for 29:51 of the final 30 minutes – that cheer turned to "Fi-re Chil-dress," followed by the rhythmic clapping.

Eventually, the fans had something positive to clap about and the coach could put a positive spin on a team that has won three of its last four games but seems to find a way to make it more interesting than it should.

"A win's a win's a win's a win in this deal," said Brad Childress, the object of the jeers.

Actually, that was one win too many at this point.

Childress' offensive players were a little more blunt.

"This game should have been a blowout," said wide receiver Bernard Berrian, who had his second consecutive 100-yard game. "It's more frustrating than tough. We're not really executing the way we want to execute on offense. Running the ball, passing, protection – all of those things have got to come together for us. No matter who you're playing, all those things have to come together and you've got to do it every play."

In the first half, the Vikings found ways to stick a knife in the heart of their drives, following big plays with big setbacks.

During the first quarter, the Vikings apparently couldn't stand prosperity. They followed up a 24-yard pass interference penalty on a throw intended for Berrian with a 9-yard sack by DE Dewayne White. At second-and-19, the offense couldn't pull out of that one.

On the second drive, Frerotte hit Berrian for a 33-yard pass down the left sideline. On the next play, guard Anthony Herrera was called for holding, and then a dropped screen pass to RB Chester Taylor on third-and-15 forced another punt.

On their third drive, it looked like the offense was finally finding a rhythm. RB Adrian Peterson picked up a first down with a 12-yard run, and consecutive passes to Robert Ferguson gained 16 yards. This time, the offense overcame another sack with a 15-yard pass to Chester Taylor, and Wade picked up another first down with a 12-yard reception. But the stake in the heart of this drive came when Peterson turned third-and-1 into a first down with a 4-yard run but fumbled the ball. Former Vikings safety Dwight Smith jumped on it and the Vikings self-destructed their way to another non-scoring drive.

"We keep stepping on our foot," Peterson said.

It wasn't ever one player. Peterson fumbled twice and lost both of them. The offensive line had several holding and false starts that put the offense in bad down and distances and there were a couple of miscommunications between the receivers and the quarterback, one that caused the only interception Gus Frerotte threw.

"It's so frustrating. You guys see the talent we have. You guys see the people that are out there – the kind of guys I can throw the ball to, the kind of guy I get to hand it off to, the line in front of me. The talent that we have, it is frustrating when we're not able to produce on offense," Frerotte said. "Not only that, but if we can put points on the board, that defense and front four would be something to reckon with."

Actually, the defensive line was still solid, even without a lead. Kevin Williams had four sacks and Jared Allen's pursuit of QB Dan Orlovsky, making his first NFL start, ran him out the back of the end zone for a safety and a sack in which Allen never touched him.

Despite a 100-yard game rushing from Peterson and nearly the first 300-yard passing game of the Childress era, the offense's inability to score in the first 40 minutes of the game left even the most productive among them frustrated.

"You're definitely going to be mad. When you come in against a team that you're supposed to … they went three-and-out the first three or four drives. That's horrible. We should be embarrassed by that … especially at home," Berrian said.

Apparently the fans felt the same way, but Allen defended Childress.

"Chilly is my guy. Chill out people," Allen said. "We have a lot of season left. Just chill out."

PROTECTION PROBLEMS

The Lions entered the game with only four sacks on the season, but they found the Vikings offensive line to their liking. The Lions came through for three sacks in the first quarter, dropping Frerotte in three of their first four drives in the first quarter.

"We didn't feel good about the way that we were protecting Gus early on," center Matt Birk said. "Offensive linemen have a lot of pride. I know this group does. When you see your quarterback on the ground, getting sacked, it's about as bad a feeling as there is, so you kind of step it up a little bit."

The Vikings gave up another sack in their first drive of the second quarter, but in the second half Frerotte was only sacked once. He said that sometimes taking a sack is the best option on a play when no receiver is open and you want to avoid a bigger mistake.

BUCKING THE POINT TREND

The lack of scoring in the Vikings-Lions game bucked a trend in the first five weeks of the NFL season.

Entering the weekend, NFL games were averaging 45 points this year, second-highest through Week 5 since 1970. The only higher total in the last 38 years came in 2002, when there was a 45.7-point average in the first five weeks. The average has raised from 39.4 in 2006 to 41.9 points in 2007 to 45 this year.

HERRON HURT

Middle linebacker David Herron – who is replacing an injured E.J. Henderson, lost for the season two weeks ago – left the game with 10:04 to play in the second quarter with an apparent lower left leg injury. Vinny Ciurciu replaced him. Herron's return was announced as questionable.

On the next drive, Lions RB Kevin Smith took the second play of the drive for a 50-yard gain when Ciurciu missed the initial tackle at the line of scrimmage and eventually tracked him down at 12-yard line. That led to the Lions' only points of the first half, with Jason Hanson kicking a 40-yard field goal.

Herron returned to the game in the second half and was injured again in the fourth quarter. This time he didn't return, bringing up the question about whether the Vikings would look to make a roster move, either at linebacker or another position to shore up deficiencies.

"We just had a conversation in the other room," Childress said after the game, referring to vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman. "The deficiencies, you know some of them and you try and clear up the ones you can. But realistically, you have to have somebody to do business with to trade. There are just not a lot of player-for-player trade stock. People want picks and that type of thing."

KLUWE'S RETURN

Less than week after being singled out for not punting the ball out of bounds when asked to do so twice against New Orleans Saints punter returner Reggie Bush, Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe rebounded for a solid game. He had eight punts that averaged 51.8 yards with an average net of 41.1.

"I knew I could go out there and kick. It was just a matter of going out there and doing it. Getting it out of the way obviously was a relief, but I know I can do it," Kluwe said.

In fact, his first punt was a 55-yarder that was downed at the 3-yard line, after which Childress appeared to make public amends.

"Yes, he shook my hand after the first punt. He even patted my butt, too. … We didn't hug," Kluwe quipped.

NOT ALL SPECIAL

While the Vikings special teams had a better showing punting and covering punts and kickoffs, it wasn't all good.

Trailing 10-9, Ryan Longwell had a chance to give the Vikings a 12-10 lead with 10:04 to play in the fourth quarter, but the Lions got penetration across the right side of Minnesota's line. Defensive lineman Jared DeVries came through and blocked Longwell's 38-yard field goal attempt.

"They kind of caved in our right side a little bit and just got in there. The kick was climbing, so it was one of those things where it takes 11 of us to get it through," Longwell said. "That's 1.3 seconds of torture for those guys. It's a tough job."

The Vikings got another chance at the end of the game and intentionally set up Longwell's game-winning kick on the right hash mark to make it easier on the right side of the offensive line. This time, Longwell's 26-yard attempt was good with nine seconds remaining, giving him his second straight outing with a game-winner.

"You just slow everything down, slow your breathing and your thought process and just go through your routine because your routine has worked for 300 kicks," he said of handling the pressure.

TWO-POINT EXPLANATION

Childress was asked after the game why he didn't elect to go for a two-point conversion that could have tied the low-scoring game at 10-10 with 4:33 to go in the third quarter.

"Just because there was time left. It was in the third quarter, was it not? There were a couple minutes to go in the third quarter. At that point it was a little bit too early. It is on the chart, it says ‘Go for it.' But not at the end of the third quarter," Childress said.

When the subject came up again, the reasoning was a bit more confusing when he was asked about the downside of going for the two-point conversion instead of settling for a one-point deficit.

"We wouldn't be kicking or having a chance at a game-winning field goal here at the end. You just have to decide. It's a coaches' decision. I'm not sure that was a real game-changer there," Childress said.

With two more chances at the lead on field goal attempts, it turned out to not be a game-changing decision, but it could have been.

RICE INACTIVE AGAIN

The Vikings deactivated WR Sidney Rice for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions as he continues to work his way back from a knee injury.

Safety Madieu Williams also remained inactive with his neck injury. Also inactive for the Vikings were John David Booty (third QB), FBs Thomas Tapeh and Jeff Dugan, OL Drew Radovich and Marcus Johnson, and DT Letroy Guion. LB Erin Henderson, who didn't practice until Friday because of a concussion on Monday night, was active.

For the Lions, QB Jon Kitna was inactive with a back injury. Former Vikings QB Drew Henson was the third QB for Detroit behind Dan Orlovsky and Drew Stanton. Also inactive were LB Gilbert Gardner, G Stephen Peterman, T Damion Cook, DT Andre Fluellen, DE Ikaika Alama-Francis and DT Landon Cohen.

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