PASSING OFFENSE: C — Gus Frerotte and Bernard Berrian connected for an 86-yard touchdown in the third quarter of the Vikings' 12-10 victory and overall Frerotte's 296 passing yards were the most in a single game since Brad Childress became coach in 2006. Berrian's 131 yards receiving on five catches, gave him his second consecutive 100-yard effort. Still, the Vikings did not move the ball on a consistent enough basis, and Frerotte was hurried for much of the game. The Lions finished with five sacks, including four in the first half, and right tackle Ryan Cook had a particularly tough game. Detroit entered the game with only four sacks in four games and given that the Lions had the NFL's worst defense it figures the Vikings should have had even more success through the air.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C — Adrian Peterson had his first 100-yard effort after not reaching that mark for three consecutive games, but he also lost two fumbles that ended drives. Peterson has now turned over the ball three times in the past three games. Peterson finished with 111 yards on 25 carries (a 4.4 average) and Chester Taylor carried five times for 21 yards (4.2 average). The Vikings had 135 yards rushing overall, with receiver Bernard Berrian adding 3 on one attempt. Minnesota got yardage on the ground but did not have any real explosive plays. Peterson had a couple of opportunities to break free but failed to do so. His longest carry went for 13 yards. Taylor also had a 13-yard gain.
PASS DEFENSE: B — The Vikings gave up 150 yards passing to Detroit's Dan Orlovsky, who was making his first NFL start in place of the injured Jon Kitna. Orlovsky did hit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson on a 37-yard touchdown in the third quarter for Detroit's lone score of the game. The Vikings pass rush was impressive, getting a season-best six sacks and nine quarterback hurries. This included a career-high four sacks from Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams. Williams was a force throughout the day getting four hurries and leading the Vikings with eight tackles, including five for losses.
RUSH DEFENSE: C — The Vikings would have held the Lions to 50 yards on the ground except for the fact rookie running back Kevin Smith gashed Minnesota for a 50-yard run over left tackle that set up a Lions field goal. The Lions became the second team to get 100 yards on the ground against one of the NFL's best run defenses. Green Bay had 139 rushing yards against the Vikings in the season opener. Interestingly, Smith had 62 yards Sunday on only five carries. Rudi Johnson got the bulk of the work for the Lions, getting 38 yards on 17 carries. That translates into an unimpressive 2.2-yard average per touch and makes one wonder why the Vikings didn't see more of Smith.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus — One game after the Vikings' coverage units looked lost against New Orleans - the Saints' Reggie Bush tied an NFL record by scoring twice on punt returns - Minnesota rebounded to have a solid game in this area. About the only miscue was Ryan Longwell's 38-yard field-goal attempt that was blocked in the fourth quarter. This came with the Vikings trailing 10-9. Fortunately for Minnesota, Longwell made a 26-yarder with nine seconds left to give the Vikings a 12-10 victory. As far as the coverage units, the Lions averaged 6.3 yards on four punt returns and 16.7 yards on three kickoff returns. The Saints, by comparison, averaged 35.2 yards on punt returns and 25.4 yards kick returns. Punter Chris Kluwe, who got in hot water with coach Brad Childress for failing to put the ball out of bounds against the Saints, averaged 51.8 gross yards and 41.1 net on eight punts.
COACHING: C — The Vikings won, but the hometown fans certainly weren't happy. The team was booed off the field trailing 3-2 at halftime and chants of "Fire Childress" began in the second half and served as a reminder of the fans angst toward head coach Brad Childress. Childress really could have found himself in hot water with the fans if the Vikings had lost the game by a point. With points few and far between, Childress went against his chart and elected to have Ryan Longwell kick an extra point after Bernard Berrian's 86-yard touchdown reception. Childress reasoned it was too early to go for it but if he had gone for it and made it the score would have been tied at 10-10. If he hadn't made it, the score would have been 10-8 and the Vikings still could have won it with a field goal.
Grading the game: Lions
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