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Minnesota Vikings Defense Stymies Detroit Lions, Special Teams Strong

September 30th, 2012 at 3:43 PM
By Michael Rath

The Minnesota Vikings' special teams returned a kickoff and punt for a score as they defeated the Detroit Lions 20-13 today at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Dome.  The Vikings' defense held the Lions to 55 yards rushing as they held them to only one touchdown the entire game.

'Percy Harvin' photo (c) 2010, Mike Morbeck - license:

The Vikings started the game off strong as Percy Harvin returned the opening kick off 105 yards for a touchdown to give them the lead 7-0.  However, the Vikings' offense struggled to get the ball in the end zone the rest of the first half.  Fortunately for the Vikings, their defense held the Lions out of the end zone as well and went into the half with the score 13-6 Vikings.

The Lions got the ball to start the second half, and after four plays, the Vikings held them and forced a fourth down.  The Lions then punted the ball to Marcus Sherels who took the ball from the 23 yard line, got hit, and somehow managed to break a few tackles and go 77 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings the lead 20-6.

Stafford had a great game through the air, but the Vikings kept his receivers out of the end zone the entire game.  Stafford was 30-51 for 319 yards, however he could not find Calvin Johnson or the rest of his receiving corps in the end zone.  Johnson also had his worst game of the season as he only caught five passes for 59 yards.  The only Lions touchdown was a one yard quarterback keeper by Stafford to bring the game to within a touchdown.  The Lions would be held on the final drive as Everson Griffen sacked Stafford to end the game on fourth down.

The Vikings' defense sacked Stafford five times, which is one more time than the Lions' offensive line had allowed in the first three games.  Jared Allen had one sack, Everson Griffen had two and Letroy Guion also had two sacks.

Christian Ponder actually struggled for the first time this season.  He was 16-26 for 111 yards, but did not connect with anyone in the end zone.  Ponder did, once again, go another game without throwing an interception.  Ponder's mistake free ability to play has undoubtedly helped the Vikings to this 3-1 start.

Adrian Peterson finally broke through this game as he rushed 21 times for 102 yards.  This was the first time that he broke the 100 yard barrier.  He might not have reached the end zone for the third straight game, but he is making his presence known.

This was the first time the Vikings have won a divisional game since they defeated the Lions 24-10 on Sept. 26 2010.  With this win, no matter what happens the rest of this weekend, the Vikings will be atop the NFC North.  Next week, the Vikings welcome in the Tennesse Titans to play at the Mall of America Field at the Hubert. H. Humphrey Dome.

Tags: Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, Everson Griffen, Football, Hubert H. Humphrey Dome, Jared Allen, Letroy Guion, Mall of America Field, Minnesota, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Percy Harvin

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