The Minnesota Vikings played all their cards right in New Orleans on Monday night, pulling out a wild 30-27 win. Today at home vs the lowly Lions, the team needed all they get and more just to pull out a 12-10 win. Breathing a sigh of relief after Ryan Longwell’s game-winning kick from 26 yards sailed through with 9 seconds left, the Vikings move to .500 at 3-3 on the season, while the Lions played hard, but still drop to 0-5.
The Vikings defense did their part, holding Detroit to six first downs, 2-for-13 on third downs, and 212 total yards. Minnesota put up 392 yards on a Lions D that has been run over by everyone, but could not find the end zone other than an 86-yard pass and catch from Gus Frerotte to Bernard Berrian that made it 10-9 Lions with 4:33 left in the third quarter.
The two teams went back and forth with the Lions holding the one-point lead till Minnesota took over the ball with 4:41 left. They went 71 yards in 10 plays, setting up Longwell, who had missed a FG two possessions earlier, for the shot at the win. The big play in the drive for the Vikings was a 42-yard penalty on Detroit’s Leigh Bodden that put the ball on the Lions 26. It was just Monday night the Saints had a similar penalty that put the Vikings in a position to win the game.
The play in question was a 2nd-and-20 with Frerotte trying to go down the sideline for Aundrae Allison, and the ball fell incomplete. But field judge Mike Weir whistled cornerback Bodden for pass interference despite what appeared to be minimal contact. Six plays later Longwell bailed out the Vikings for the win with the chip-shot 26-yard field goal.
Detroit played their best game of the year from a number of standpoints, mostly on defense. Just a week after allowing 34 to the Bears at home, they played much more in sync and had a much better effort, but the offense was again awful for the most part with backup QB Dan Orlovsky filling in for an injured Jon Kitna.
Orlovsky was 12-for-21 for 150 yards with a TD and was sacked six times for negative 38 yards. He also ran out of the end zone when he didn’t know where he was for a Vikings safety. The Lions run game continued to struggle, as besides a 50-yard run by rookie Kevin Smith, the team rushed for just 50 yards on 23 carries. Rudi Johnson got the start, and ran for 38 yards on 17 carries (2.2 yards per carry).
Adrian Peterson ran for 111 yards on 25 carries after struggling on Monday night. Frerotte threw for 296 yards on 18-for-33 passing with a TD and a pick. Bernard Berrian had five catches for 131 yards and the long score. Bobby Wade had four grabs for 71 yards and a 46-yard completion.
The Vikings will look to move to 4-3 next week as they play a big divisional game at Chicago vs the Bears. The Lions will try to win their first game at Houston vs the 1-4 Texans.