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The Minnesota Vikings traveled to Ford Field to take on division rivals the Detroit Lions and, thanks to well executed special teams, the Vikings defeated the Lions 20-13.
The opening kickoff gave the Vikings early momentum. Vikings kick returner Percy Harvin returned the kick 105 yards for 7-0 lead, a franchise record for Minnesota. This was Harvin’s 5th career NFL kick return, and his first this season. Minnesota’s special teams were back on the scoreboard in the 3rd quarter. Punt returner Marcus Sherels returned a 77 yard punt to the house to extend the Vikings lead to 20-6.
The Vikings defense was able to maintain the Lions offense the entire game. The Lions scored their first and only touchdown of the game in the 4th quarter on a Matthew Stafford one-yard scramble. Stafford completed 30-of-51 yards for 319 yards but did not throw a touchdown pass. This was the first time Stafford did not throw a touchdown since the 2010 season. The Vikings limited the Lions run game, only giving up 54 yards on the ground. Chad Greenway continues to lead the Vikings with 11 tackles; also cornerback Antoine Winfield and linebacker Jasper Brinkley recorded ten tackles. Minnesota forced Lions running back Mikel Leshoure to fumble in the 3rd quarter. Leshoure had an impressive first career start last week rushing for 100 yards and one touchdown, however this week he had 13 carries for 26 yards.
Christian Ponder continues to impress this season, and completed 16-of-26 passes for 111 yards. Adrian Peterson led the Vikings in rushing with 21 carries for 102 yards, his first 100+ yard game of the season. Jerome Simpson led the Vikings in receiving with four receptions for 50 yards.
Lions running back Joique Bell led Detroit in receiving with six receptions for 72 yards. Tight-end Brandon Pettigrew led all receivers with a game high seven receptions for 67 yards. Calvin Johnson was contained to only five receptions for 54 yards. This is Johnson’s third game this season without securing a touchdown.
The Vikings have seemed to gain some positive momentum after handing the San Francisco 49ers there first loss of the season. Next week the Vikings will be home against a 1-3 Tennessee Titans team, and will look to maintain an early divisional lead.
Image Courtesy of Minnesota Vikings