Vikings sweeping through NFC North

The Vikings have swept through two NFC North teams and have yet to play Chicago. They continue to do it with explosive plays from their offensive stars.

The Vikings appear on course to be 10-1 entering the month of December after a 27-10 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday lifted them to 8-1 on the season.

That was the first of three consecutive home games that will include meetings with Seattle and the Chicago Bears over the next two Sundays. The Vikings don't go on the road again until Dec. 6 when they will play at Arizona.

The Seahawks will be the latest team to face the difficult challenge of slowing a Vikings offense that is becoming more dangerous each week.

Minnesota took advantage of its matchup against the woeful Lions to generate a season-high 492 yards. Wide receiver Sidney Rice, who is having a breakout season, caught seven passes for 201 yards, just 9 yards shy of Sammy White's single-game franchise mark. Rice caught two 43-yard passes and added a 56-yarder on Sunday.

This helped Brett Favre throw for a season-high 344 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions — he does not have a pick this season in beating Detroit and Green Bay twice each — and running back Adrian Peterson added 133 yards rushing on 18 carries with two touchdowns.

Peterson could have had a third score but a 43-yard run came to an abrupt end when Lions cornerback Phillips Buchanon punched the ball out of his possession and into the Detroit end zone in the second quarter. The Lions recovered the ball.

The miscue didn't please Vikings coach Brad Childress, but overall he was happy to see his team return with a victory after having a bye week.

Rice's continued improvement has been among the most pleasant surprises for the Vikings. He now has three 100-yard plus receiving performances in the past four games. Rice doesn't have great speed but his size (6-foot-4, 202 pounds) makes him a very difficult matchup for smaller defensive backs.

Favre knows this and thus isn't afraid to put the ball in the air for Rice in one-on-one situations.

"He sure is difficult to cover," Favre said. "The types of plays he makes, I think, is what we all expect him to do. It's just great catches, in traffic, coming back underneath guys. You name it. He's proven he can make those types of catches. So it offers a different dimension with our run game. Him and guys like Percy (Harvin), you throw a 3-yard pass and they turn it into big plays like he did today. So we have a good mix. But definitely, as far as deep threats go, Sidney ranks right up there with the best."

LINEUP WATCH: Pro Bowl left cornerback Antoine Winfield is expected to return Sunday after missing the past three-plus games because of a foot injury. Winfield has been replaced by a combination of Benny Sapp, Karl Paymah and Asher Allen. Sapp, though, suffered a groin injury Sunday against the Lions.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25-9 — Brett Favre's career record against the Detroit Lions, his most victories against any opponent in his 19-plus-year career.

NOTES

  • WR Darius Reynaud returned Sunday after being out after injuring a hamstring in Week 3. Reynaud resumed his role as the Vikings' punt-return man, averaging 2.8 yards on four returns. WR Jaymar Johnson was inactive with Reynaud back.

  • CB Asher Allen saw extensive time in the nickel package in the second half Sunday after Benny Sapp went out because of a groin injury. Allen was inactive the first six games but has played since Winfield went out because of his foot injury.

  • RB Adrian Peterson set a Vikings record for fewest games needed to reach 4,000 yards by doing it in 39 games. Chuck Foreman had held the mark but it took him 57 games to do it. Peterson ranks tied for fourth in NFL history for the fewest games needed to reach 4,000 yards.

  • QB Tarvaris Jackson saw mop-up duty in place of Brett Favre for the fourth time this season. Jackson also entered in victories over Cleveland in Week 1, Detroit in Week 2 and St. Louis in Week 5.

  • DE Ray Edwards has 5.5 sacks this season, a career high for him. His previous single-season best had been five in 2007 and 2008.


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