Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/11/12
MINNEAPOLIS -- There was certainly enough pressure to go around. The Minnesota Vikings defense, so stout early, had become leaky. Quarterback Christian Ponder had failed to throw for 100 yards in two of his last three starts. The Vikings, after a 4-1 start, had lost three out of four games, including two straight, and were about to take to Mall of America Field without injured receiver Percy Harvin. Which is why, after a 34-24 victory over the NFC North Division rival Detroit Lions Sunday, there was plenty of redemption to go around in the Vikings' locker room. This was a pivotal game for both teams. The Vikings (6-3) came in with a two-game losing streak. The Lions (4-5), after a slow start, had won two in a row. It appeared these were two ships about to pass in the middle of the afternoon. But wait. The Vikings defense was wonderful early, good enough late, forcing two turnovers that were turned into 10 points. Adrian Peterson was incredible, especially at the end, when his 61-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run essentially iced the game. Peterson had his fourth straight 100-yard game, gaining 171 yards on 27 carries. And then there was Ponder. Maligned for much of the last month, he completed 24 of 32 passes for 221 yards, two TDs and no interceptions. During the week, Vikings quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson essentially asked Ponder not to worry so much. "He said to go out and play and stop worrying about the consequences," Ponder said. "Just go out and let it rip." And now the Vikings are headed into a bye week at 6-3, 2-0 in division play. "To be 6-3 going into the bye, to win in our division, all plusses for our team," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "I can't say enough about our players." The Lions? Matthew Stafford appeared ready to produce another second-half comeback. He threw for 329 yards and three scores, hitting Calvin Johnson 12 times for 207 yards. But the Vikings did not yield, answering every Lions score with one of their own, outscoring the Lions 18-14 in the fourth quarter. "You have to give them credit," said Stafford. "We'd go down and score a touchdown and they would come right back and put seven on the board." Ponder got it going early, hitting rookie Jarius Wright -- Harvin's replacement making his NFL debut -- with a 54-yard pass to the Lions' 1-yard line on the team's first possession. Two plays later Wright hauled in his first NFL TD pass. That set the stage for a first half in which the Vikings didn't finish enough drives but still held a 13-3 halftime lead because Stafford and the Lions couldn't get anything going. But that changed. Stafford led consecutive lightning-quick scoring drives, bringing Detroit within a touchdown with most of the fourth quarter remaining. But the Vikings didn't yield. Peterson scored, then the Vikings forced a Johnson fumble on the Lions' next play, turning it into the last of Blair Walsh's four field goals. "We had to be more consistent," said linebacker Chad Greenway, who had an interception. "But this, today, is who we are, who we were early in the season. We just had to figure out how to do it again." Ponder spread it around, completing passes to 10 players, including himself, when he caught the deflection of his own pass. Tight end Kyle Rudolph caught seven passes for 64 yards, including a 20-yard fourth quarter TD. "We weren't in a must-win situation, but it was dang close," defensive end Jared Allen said. "It was more like a better-win situation. We had to come home and bounce back." The Lions, meanwhile, have to figure out how to do the same. "It is what it is," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. "We have three games at home and we start this week against Green Bay. It doesn't matter what's happened to us in the past. We have to play better than this in order to win." Notes: Peterson reached 1,000 yards for the fifth time, a franchise record. ... As expected, Vikings receiver Percy Harvin (ankle) was not active. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Michael Jenkins, and the Vikings also activated rookie Jarius Wright for the first time. ... Safety Mistral Raymond returned after missing six games with an ankle sprain, did not start, but split time at strong safety with Jamarca Sanford. ... Fred Evans started at defensive tackle in place of the injured Letroy Guion (turf toe). ... Tight end John Carlson (concussion) returned to action. ... The Lions again played without both starting safeties, with Louis Delmas (knee) missing his second straight game and sixth overall and Amari Spievey (concussion) missing his third straight game.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Arthur Blank diagnosed with prostate cancer

Browns deny coverup of Manziel showing up drunk at practice

Jimmy Butler will miss 3-4 weeks with knee strain

Phil Jackson justifies firing Fisher with psychology lesson

Emmitt Smith takes shot at Colin Kaepernick

Eli Manning explains why he made face during Super Bowl


Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

John Elway: ‘No deadline’ for Peyton Manning decision

Titans release former Pro Bowl safety Michael Griffin

Maple Leafs trade Dion Phaneuf to Senators in blockbuster deal

Tom Brady says he’s not among the greatest QBs ever

Bosh: ‘Scary part’ is Aldridge, Spurs can get better

‘The X-Files’ takes a shot at the Philadelphia 76ers

Ranking the top 50 NFL players slated to become free agents

Jay Williams advocates for pot as painkiller for athletes

Photographer uninjured in SB collision with Corey Brown

Did Messi outbid Ronaldo for most expensive car?

Newton erotic novella ‘Dabbin’ with Cam’ released on Amazon

In Inglewood, representation by NFL may come with taxation

Mets will be present for two Royals’ WS ceremonies

Best and worst free agent signings of 2016 MLB offseason

McShay: Attending Michigan signing day a 'mistake'

Wofford sets NCAA 3-point FG percentage record

Phil Jackson reunion with Lakers possible?

Would it be smart for the Broncos to franchise Von Miller?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker