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The Minnesota Vikings improved to 6-4 on the year and 5-1 at Mall of America Field, to hold off NFC North rivals the Detroit Lions, securing a pivotal 34-24 divisional victory.
Adrian Peterson continues to carry the Vikings with his tough running each week. Peterson had 27 carries for 171 yards and one touchdown. Peterson’s touchdown came in the fourth quarter on a 61-yard run as he burst through the Lions’ defense. This was Peterson’s fifth game rushing for over 100 yards and his fourth consecutive 120+ yard game on the ground.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder finally regained his touch behind center. The two-year player completed 24 of 32 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. His 75% completion percentage is a season best thus far. Ponder was able to execute and play mistake-free football without throwing an interception for the first time since week four against the Lions.
Ponder connected with rookie wideout Jarius Wright for the first score of the game. Wright caught three passes for 65 yards along with his first career touchdown catch. Ponder was able to get tight end Kyle Rudolph involved again after being nearly irrelevant for the last three weeks for the Vikings’ offense.
Rudolph caught a team-high seven passes for 64 yards, and a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter to put the Vikings ahead 24-10.
The Vikings were without their main receiving threat Percy Harvin, who was ruled out because of an ankle injury.
The Lions’ Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson connection finally came together but it was not enough. Johnson caught 12 passes for 207 yards and late touchdown to pull within 10 points.
Johnson was questionable coming into this week’s game with a knee injury, but was able to explode for his first 200+ yard game of the season. Johnson finally secured his second touchdown score of the year after being shut down for the previous five weeks.
Stafford completed 28 of 42 passes for 329 yard three touchdowns and one interception. Stafford connected with wide receiver Titus Young in the fourth quarter. Young caught four passes for 35 yards along with his touchdown reception. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew caught three passes for 32 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter.
With the victory, the Vikings hold their ground in third place in the NFC North. As for the Lions, they dropped to 4-5 and are going to need to start winning to become competitive in the division. The Vikings will have their bye week next week. Detroit will face another tough divisional opponent at home, the Green Bay Packers.
Image Courtesy : Detroit Lions