A first in first, with work to do

The Vikings allowed themselves a little time to enjoy being in sole possession of first place in the NFC North, but they know they have some work left with four games to play and only a one-game lead over Chicago.

The Vikings' 34-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday put Minnesota in sole possession of first place in the NFC North for the first time since Brad Childress took over as head coach in 2006.

Asked Monday if he had allowed himself to enjoy his team's spot in the standings, Childress joked: "Yeah, I had a vodka as big as your head last night."

While Childress clearly was in good humor - his team is one game up on Chicago and two up on Green Bay - he isn't allowing anyone to enjoy the fact his team is atop a division it has never won.

After Sunday's victory, Childress quickly turned the attention in the locker room to this week's game at Detroit. Players were off Monday and will be off again Tuesday, but when they return, the Bears victory will be long forgotten.

"We have Monday and Tuesday to enjoy this," left tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "We have to get over it by Wednesday. For the most part everybody's happy. When Wednesday comes we have to think about Detroit and make that our main focus."

That is especially true because the Lions could prove to be a dangerous foe. Detroit has not won a game this season (0-12) and is coming off an embarrassing Thanksgiving Day loss to Tennessee. The Lions would like nothing more than to put a dent in the Vikings' playoff hopes.


  • Quarterback Gus Frerotte seemed to play better Sunday after taking a late hit from the Bears' Adewale Ogunleye in the second quarter. "Sometimes that happens," said Frerotte, who was down on the turf for several moments after the hit but returned on the next offensive series. "I don't know what it is. Sometimes those cheap shots tick you off pretty good and you want to play well and show them that no matter what you do to me or my team we're going to play through it. That's just kind of typical of our team."

  • Defensive end Jared Allen, who has been fined heavily this season for hits on quarterbacks, was asked for his reaction to Ogunleye's hit. "You can't retaliate these days," Allen said. "In the old days you might have been able to. If anything we just went over to the offense and said, ‘You can't let them take shots.' The way you pay them back is by putting 34 points on the board."

  • Safety Darren Sharper, who is the NFL's active leaders in interceptions, didn't get one until Sunday's game. That ended a streak of 13 games without a pick. Asked if he thought he might go a whole season without one, Sharper said: "You never know. I haven't had too many opportunities. The thing about it is, whenever you get up by some points you get more opportunities. That's the big thing."

  • Allen's three sacks Sunday give him 11 on the season. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams is second on the Vikings with 8 ½. Allen is now tied with Keith Millard for the most sacks by a player in his first season with the Vikings.

  • WR Aundrae Allison was inactive for the first time this season on Sunday as veteran Robert Ferguson suited up after sitting out the previous four games. Allison was used on kickoff returns for much of last season but is no longer employed in a return role. He has 10 receptions for 109 yards this season.

  • RB Adrian Peterson's 131 yards rushing Sunday give him a career total of 2,652 yards to move him into 10th place in team history. Peterson surpassed quarterback Fran Tarkenton's career total of 2,548 yards.

  • RT Artis Hicks sat out Sunday's game because of an injury to his right elbow. Hicks had replaced the struggling Ryan Cook in the Vikings' previous game against Jacksonville. Cook started against the Bears and appeared to play a solid game. However, coach Brad Childress made it clear that Hicks remains the starter if he can get healthy.

  • LB Ben Leber has been credited with six takeaways this season, including his second interception of the year on Sunday night against Chicago. Leber was the only linebacker to stay on the field when the Vikings went to a dime defense that included cornerback Benny Sapp as well as rookie safety Tyrell Johnson.

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