Detroit games show Favre's progress

The maturation of the Vikings offense showed when comparing the two Detroit games. Brett Favre looked more comfortable and more willing to stretch the field on Sunday, as opposed to his second regular-season game as a Viking.

How far has the Vikings' offense come with Brett Favre at quarterback? The team's two victories over Detroit this season pretty much spell it out.

In a 27-13 victory in Week 2 at Ford Field, Favre threw for 155 yards (23-for-27) with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Vikings did not have an explosive play, which the team measures as a run of 12 or more yards and a pass of 16 or more.

On Sunday, the Vikings beat the Lions by a similar score, 27-10, at the Metrodome. Only this time, Favre completed 20-for-29 passes for 344 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. The offense turned out 11 explosive plays, including seven through the air.

Favre hit Sidney Rice on two 43-yard passes and one that went for 56. Percy Harvin also had a short catch that turned into a 40-yard reception.

"I think it's just continuing to evolve," coach Brad Childress said of his offense. "I think everybody, every play, there are things that stick with you. ... I just think that we can continue to hammer out some better execution. We were better in the three-and-out phase than we had been."

Entering Monday, the Vikings were ranked seventh in the NFL in total offense with an average of 369.1 yards per game. Minnesota was 10th in rushing and 12th in passing.

The balance is a vast improvement on how things were before Favre arrived. Last year, for instance, the Vikings were fifth in rushing but 25th in passing.

NOTES

  • LB Chad Greenway on if he thought the Vikings' tackling improved Sunday against Detroit after it was an area of focus coming out of the bye: "I thought we did and especially when (the Lions) got their big weapons the ball. You really take away the big play if you tackle well and it's always something that you need to work on. But I feel like we really honed that up and if we continue to work on it like I'm sure we will we'll continue to get better as we push through the second half here."

  • WR Sidney Rice on the Vikings' offense: "I think we're doing a decent job but we have lots of room for improvement. There's a lot of things we can still work on. We had a couple of missed assignments out there and hopefully we're going to continue to fight to try to get to that level to get to the team that we want to be."

  • Coach Brad Childress said he wasn't concerned about his players being too loose going into Sunday's game against the Lions, who are now 1-8 on the season.

    "I thought our guys were loose but I learned a long time ago they don't have to be sitting there rocking in the chair to play good football," he said. "They were loose, they were fresh. The question is would you say we were too loose? We were too loose with the football I know that. (The Vikings lost two fumbles.) But certainly we played decently on the defensive side. There are just some things we have to tighten up. Improving is the key. You want to continue to ascend."

  • WR Bernard Berrian continued to play against the Lions. He's still being slowed by a hamstring injury suffered on Oct. 25 at Pittsburgh. Berrian had been limited in practice during the week but caught three passes for 22 yards versus Detroit.

  • WR Darius Reynaud was back in the lineup Sunday for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 3 against San Francisco. Reynaud was back in the punt return role; Jaymar Johnson, who had returned punts during Reynaud's absence, was inactive.

  • FB Naufahu Tahi returned after missing the Vikings' final game before the bye on Nov. 1 because of an eye injury he had suffered. Tahi did go down briefly with a right ankle injury but was able to continue after having it taped.

  • CB Antoine Winfield missed his third consecutive game Sunday against Detroit because of an injury to his right foot but expects to return this weekend against Seattle.

  • CB Benny Sapp injured his groin in the third quarter Sunday against the Lions but said he doesn't expect to miss any time. If Winfield returns, Sapp would resume playing primarily in the nickel. If Sapp can't go, rookie Asher Allen likely would be used in the nickel.

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