Notebook: A tough win

The Vikings avoided losing to the winless Lions, but they did come out of the game beat up. QB Gus Frerotte didn't play in the second half and Jared Allen suffered a knee injury yet returned to the game. See what the players and coach Brad Childress had to say about that, along with other notes and quotes following a 20-16 division win.

The Vikings' 20-16 win over Detroit was difficult to come by and it may have deeper injury implications.

Minnesota quarterback Gus Frerotte suffered what was being called a lower back contusion in the second quarter and his status for next Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals isn't known yet. Frerotte didn't return to the game in Detroit after making a tackle following his second interception. Tarvaris Jackson replaced him and engineered two second-half touchdown drives.

"He has got a back contusion, very sore right now," Vikings coach Brad Childress said of Frerotte. "We are trying to settle him down and make him comfortable. You can't say enough about Tarvaris coming into the game and how he played. With limited reps, that is what happens at that position, but I thought he did a great job coming in, moving the football around, converting a few third downs and directing the show. He knew exactly what he was doing."

Frerotte went to the sidelines and had his back stretched by the trainers, but eventually he was taken to the locker room on a cart.

Frerotte wasn't the only Viking to be injured. DE Jared Allen, who hasn't missed a game despite suffering what he said was a Grade 3 sprain of the AC joint in his right shoulder, took a shot to his knee in the second quarter.

According to FoxSports.com's Jay Glazer, Allen is believed to have suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament but the severity of the injury wasn't known shortly after the game.

After being injured on the block and getting up, Allen limped past the Vikings trainers who were looking to assist him and toward Gosder Cherilus, the offensive lineman who dove at Allen's knee to block him, but Ray Edwards restrained Allen before he could reach Cherilus.

Allen returned to the game and had sacks in two of the next three drives in the second half.

"The biggest thing is Kevin (Williams) had - I think he drew a lot of attention off the ball. I was laughing with Kevin, because I said, the best rushes I had today, I didn't get sacks on," Allen said. "The runs where I beat my guy pretty clean, I didn't get sacks on and then they tried to block me with the tight end and then, one run they didn't even block me. For me, I love having those guys. You saw Pat (Williams) a couple times. I heard him hit someone today that was like, 'Holy smokes.' But we're all in there. We all are pretty much on the same page."

NO LONG HOOKUPS

The Vikings didn't have any big pass plays to Bernard Berrian, and their longest gain in the passing game was a 25-yard pass to Visanthe Shiancoe.

Last week, the Vikings tied an NFL record and broke the team record for the longest pass play with a 99-yarder from Frerotte to Bernard Berrian. Before that, those two set the season mark for the Vikings and had the second-longest pass play in team history.

Back on Oct. 12 – the last game against the Lions – Frerotte found Berrian for an 86-yard pass play, which fell 3 yards short of the team record at the time, which had stood since 1962.

On Sunday, Berrian had three catches for 29 yards. He was the target of a long pass from Jackson at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Jackson badly overthrew him. Jackson's longest completion was a 16-yarder – to Berrian – but the quarterback completed 8 of 10 attempts.

NO DISTRACTIONS

Safety Darren Sharper said that Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, who made several big plays in the game, apologized to the team last week if they caused a distraction with their suspensions (that were temporarily blocked) for the use of a banned substance.

"Both guys don't want to be a distraction at all. That's why one thing they said is that they apologized for the fact that it was a distraction. We didn't think it was, but they apologized if it was, and those guys just want to play football," Sharper said. "That's all they're worried about is being the best two defensive tackles in the league and today they went out and tried to prove that and they played well."

The Williamses were once again involved in two short-yardage stops that limited points for the Lions, just as they were a big reason the Vikings had a huge goal-line stand against the Chicago Bears in their previous game.

The Williamses found out on Thursday that they would be able to play on Sunday after a U.S. District judge Paul Magnuson upheld a temporary restraining order against the NFL's four-game suspension of the players. Magnuson said he needed more time to review the facts of the case, but he didn't issue a timetable for doing so. If the suspensions are eventually upheld, they would carry into the playoffs.

PETERSON'S LEAD INCREASES

The last time Adrian Peterson played the Lions, he rushed for 111 yards but fumbled the ball away twice. Sunday against the Lions, Peterson fumbled the ball three times, twice out of bounds and another one that he recovered.

However, Peterson rushed for 102 yards and increased his lead in the NFL's season rushing title. The second-year back now has 1,413 yards while the Redskins' Clinton Portis fell from second place to third when various injuries kept him from playing a full game Sunday night. Portis now has 1,260 yards while Atlanta's Michael Turner took over second place with 1,269 yards.

"I don't feel like, personally, I had the best game. I put the ball on the turf a couple times - too many times," Peterson said. "But fortunately it kind of went our way. It really didn't cause any turnovers and force those guys getting the ball. Me and Chester (Taylor) and the offensive line, we just got together the second half and got in our mindsets – hey, we're going to run the ball, we're going to pound these guys until they stop us. We did that. We came out, we pounded the ball, made some big plays. It worked out good for us."

HERRERA STARTS

Right guard Anthony Herrera returned to practice on Friday after the Wednesday burial of his older brother. Fox reported that Herrera's brother died of an illness related to his fight against cancer. Right tackle Artis Hicks also returned to the starting lineup Sunday after missing the Chicago game with an elbow injury. Hicks was wearing a brace on his elbow.

The Vikings' inactives were John David Booty (third QB), RB Maurice Hicks, TE Garrett Mills, LB Erin Henderson, LB Dontarrious Thomas, DT Jimmy Kennedy, T Marcus Johnson and DE Brian Robison.

For the Lions, Drew Stanton (third QB), QB Dan Orlovsky, CB Keith Smith, LB Alex Lewis, G Manny Ramirez, T Damion Cook, WR Shaun McDonald and DE Dewayne White were inactive.

NOTES

  • The Vikings maintained their one-game lead in the NFC North over the Chicago Bears, who beat Jacksonville on Sunday. The Vikings' win, combined with other NFC North action, continues to put them in the driver's seat. In order for Green Bay to win the division, the Packers would have to win their three remaining games and the Vikings would have to lose all three of their last games, along with the Bears dropping at least two games. In order for the 7-6 Bears to surpass the Vikings in the division race, they would have to have a better record than the Vikings, who are 8-5 right now. The Bears and Vikings split their season series, but the Vikings are 4-2 in the division and the Bears are 3-2 with a game left against the Packers. However, the Vikings have the better record in common games, the third tie-breaker to determine the division.

    If the Vikings win one of their final three games, that would eliminate Green Bay from the division title. If they win two of their final three games, the Vikings would also win the division over Chicago, no matter what the Bears did the rest of the way.

  • Only 50,444 attended the game, according to the Lions' count. That might have been a stretch, with the vast majority of the upper deck at Ford Field vacant at the start of the game.

    "It was about a half-filled stadium," Sharper said. "It seemed as though we were at a morgue more than at a football game. It was so quiet and a lot of times you come out flat on the road, but you have to keep persevering and find a way to win a game."

  • Besides a 70-yard pass in which Detroit deep threat Calvin Johnson got behind CB Cedric Griffin, the Vikings limited Johnson to two other catches for 14 yards. After Johnson's 84 yards, the next most productive Lions receiver was the recently signed Keary Colbert, who caught two passes for 32 yards.

  • Fox Sports broadcast a post-game locker room speech from Zygi Wilf in which the owner presented coach Brad Childress with the game ball in honor of Childress' son, Andrew, entering the Marine Corps this month. However, in the background behind Wilf, the Fox cameras also caught TE Visanthe Shiancoe naked. He was partially covered with a towel, but the angle of cameras left Shiancoe's private parts not so private. Fox apologized for the mistake.


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