PASSING OFFENSE: B — Two games into this tenure with the Vikings, Brett Favre truly has been a game manager. The NFL's all-time leader in both touchdown passes and interceptions has yet to throw a pick and has three touchdown strikes. In the victory over the Lions, Favre continued to thrive in the short passing game. He hit on 23 of 27 passes, setting a team record with an 85.2 completion percentage. However, his longest pass went for only 13 yards to Sidney Rice. Favre also completed all six of his passes to Bernard Berrian, who had no catches in the Vikings' opener against Cleveland, but the longest strike to Berrian was for 11 yards. Eventually, Favre is going to need to hit on some deep passes just to loosen up defenses for the run game. One issue so far in the passing game has been the protection that Favre is getting. He has been sacked seven times in two games, including three times against Detroit, in part because defenses are bringing blitzes. Coordinators know that Favre isn't yet completely comfortable with his wide receivers and are making the most of the opportunity to disrupt him.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus — The Vikings moved from their own 24-yard line to the Lions 48 on their opening drive of the game before Adrian Peterson lost his first fumble of the season. That is a concern, given that Peterson had nine fumbles last season and four of them came against Detroit. Peterson, though, rebounded to finish with 92 yards rushing on 15 carries with a nice 27-yard touchdown run after a Lions turnover in the third quarter. The Vikings finished with 112 yards rushing overall as rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin contributed 14 yards on two carries, including a 13-yard pick up on one. Given the Lions' struggles — and that is an understatement considering Detroit has lost 19 games in a row — the Vikings' 43 rushing yards in the first two quarters came as a surprise.
PASS DEFENSE: B — Rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford impressed the Vikings with his arm strength but it was wide receiver Calvin Johnson who really scared them. The Lions have Johnson lining up all over the place and the Vikings knew they would have to account for his whereabouts at all times. Mission accomplished. Johnson caught five of the seven passes directed his way but his catches only went for 51 yards and one touchdown. Johnson's longest reception of the day was for 22 yards. Cornerbacks Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield deserved much of the credit for keeping Johnson in check. Johnson also got two carries for 16 yards. Stafford's touchdown pass to Johnson was the first of his career but he threw for only 152 yards and was intercepted twice by linebacker Chad Greenway.
RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus — The Vikings have led the NFL in rushing defense the past three seasons, so it came as a surprise that the Lions had so much success on the ground in the opening half. Running back Kevin Smith gained 48 yards on 14 first-half carries as Detroit rushed for 94 yards in the opening 30 minutes. The Vikings made halftime adjustments that enabled them to hold Detroit to 35 yards rushing in the second half. Smith finished with 83 yards on 24 carries. In addition to making some changes in their scheme, Vikings players said their tackling became sound in the second half.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B — No issues this time. After giving up a punt return for a touchdown to Josh Cribbs in their opener, the Vikings held the Lions to 7 yards on one punt return and an average of 16 yards on six kickoff returns. The Vikings offseason moves meant to improve their coverage units certainly paid off in this game. Percy Harvin gave the Vikings a 30-yard kickoff return and continues to look comfortable in that role. Veteran Ryan Longwell hit on field-goal attempts of 46 and 26 yards. Longwell's two field goals give him 300 for his career, 19th most in NFL history. He moved into 20th place in NFL history for points with 1,389.
COACHING: B-minus — For the second consecutive game, the Vikings got off to a slow start only to rebound with a flurry. The Vikings scored 24 unanswered points in their opener against Cleveland and went on a 27-0 run against Detroit. The key for Brad Childress and Co. will be getting the Vikings to play a full game beginning on Sunday in their home opener against San Francisco. The Browns and Lions went a combined 4-28 in 2008, so a slow start against those teams was far from deadly. That won't be the case as the Vikings begin to play better teams. The coaching staff does deserve credit for making halftime adjustments to exploit some of Detroit's many weaknesses.
Grading the game: Lions
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