Found November 12, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS There will be no lingering frustration heading into the bye week for the Minnesota Vikings after Sunday's 34-24 win. Minnesota knew the importance of beating the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Vikings wanted to end their two-game slide and be able to head into the off week with positive feelings. They wanted to put Detroit (4-5) squarely behind them. And after last year's 3-13 debacle, Minnesota wanted, and did, stay right in the thick of the NFC playoff picture at 6-4. Sunday's victory was an all-around team effort. A dominating first-half defense combined with improvement in the passing game helped build the lead, and running back Adrian Peterson finished off the win. Here's how each phase graded out for the Vikings on Sunday:Pass offense: BThis was the game quarterback Christian Ponder needed. Ponder had received plenty of heat for underwhelming performances lately and took the brunt of the criticism for the lack of a passing attack to balance Peterson's big games. Sunday, Ponder also looked more like the developing quarterback he showed earlier this season, such as the big win against the San Francisco 49ers. And it was all with leading receiver Percy Harvin sitting out with his ankle injury. Ponder showed more awareness in the pocket, such as the way he stepped forward, kept his eyes downfield and found rookie receiver Jarius Wright for the momentum-building 54-yard pass on the fifth offensive play. Ponder made confident throws, often in tight spaces, that he had been missing, or reluctant to try in recent weeks. Ponder finished 24 of 32 for 221 yards and two touchdowns. He avoided turnovers and was sacked just once, with a better performance from the offensive line. He completed passes to 10 different receivers including himself. Really, his yardage total would have been better if not for the tipped pass that he caught for a 15-yard loss. Peterson was again big, but for the Vikings into the bye, perhaps no aspect was more important than Ponder having a good, confidence-building game. Tight end Kyle Rudolph got involved again. After two total catches over the last three games, Rudolph hauled in seven of his 9 targets for 64 yards and a touchdown. Wright, playing in his first NFL game, had three catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. And Jerome Simpson had three catches for 28 yards.Run offense: AWhat is left to say about Peterson and his amazing recovery from knee surgery? Peterson topped 100 yards for the fourth straight game. He had a run of over 60 yards for the fourth straight game. He's totaled 629 yards the past four games with five touchdowns. Sunday, he had a season-high 27 carries for 171 yards. And he came through when Minnesota needed him, providing the ultimate closing element in the game with 120 yards rushing in the fourth quarter, including a 61-yard touchdown run that essentially finished off Detroit. Peterson averaged 6.3 yards per carry and is averaging a career-high 5.8 yards per carry this season. Minnesota finished with 189 yards rushing with Ponder's seven rushes for 15 yards. With the defense, passing and running game, the Vikings had a 34:24-25:36 lead in time of possession. And the balance helped sustain drives.Pass defense: CDetroit passed for 308 net yards and All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson finished with 12 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown. But those stats are misleading. Minnesota's defense really held the Lions for much of the game, and Stafford was able to build up big numbers in the second half, and also when the Vikings had control of the game. In the first half, Detroit had just 76 yards passing and was 0 of 6 on third downs. The Lions finished 1 of 9 on third downs. Stafford was sacked twice, once each by Kevin Williams and Everson Griffen, but he was also pressured several times causing him to miss several passes and sometimes revert to sidearm and off-balance throws. Detroit entered the week as the league's top passing team, and aside from the late stat-building, Minnesota has to feel confident in how it was able to hold the Lions for most of the game.Run defense: AVikings' defenders are probably sighing with relief after shutting down Detroit's running game. The Lions had run the ball well in recent weeks with second-year back Mikel Leshoure and backup Joique Bell. Minnesota had struggled the past four weeks containing opponents. Sunday, both teams looked like their old selves, Detroit unable to run and the Vikings bottling up everything and rallying to the runners for gang tackles.Leshoure had 13 carries for 43 yards. The Lions had 17 carries for 60 yards and Minnesota never seemed threatened by Detroit's running game. Without the balance, the Vikings were able to get after Stafford, the formula the defense wants and used earlier this season.Special teams: BNot having Harvin also cost the team its electrifying returner. Marcus Sherels took all of the kickoff and punt returns. He didn't do anything spectacular, but he's the solid, steady returner the Vikings know they can count on. He had a 20.5-yard average on four kickoff returns and two punt returns for six yards, with four fair catches. A temporary scare came on a short kick by the Lions, fielded by defensive tackle Christian Ballard, who fumbled, but Minnesota recovered. Blair Walsh was perfect again on four field goals and had six touchbacks. Walsh seemed to be kicking higher and shorter but Detroit returner Stefan Logan was hesitant to bring the ball out and had two returns for 36 yards, both time bringing the ball out of the end zone giving the Lions' worse field position than had Walsh simply booted the ball out of the end zone. Punter Chris Kluwe had a strong 48.6-yard gross average with two punts finishing inside the 10-yard line. His 35-yard net average was hurt by one 31-yard return by Logan with Kluwe kicking the ball 54 yards, but Logan had the chance to return.Overall: BMinnesota needed this game for several reasons and played like it. All phases of the team contributed to the win. And the aspects that had troubled Minnesota in recent games, such as the passing offense and rushing defense, came through with comeback efforts. Following a franchise-tying losses last season, the Vikings have a shot at the playoffs this season. The final six games are tough, with two games each against the Chicago Bears (7-2) and Green Bay Packers (6-3) and a road game at Houston (8-1). But Minnesota has surprised this season, already outperforming many outside expectations. After going winless in the NFC North last year, the Vikings have swept Detroit with four games in the division remaining. Follow Brian Hall onTwitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder thanks ESPN’s Samantha Steel for win over Lions

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder thanked girlfriend and ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Steel for helping his team beat the Detroit Lions, 34-24. Here’s his tweet following the game:

Adrian Peterson accidentally slaps boy in face after scoring touchdown (Video)

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tried to give a boy wearing his jersey a high-five in the back of the end zone after scoring a fourth quarter touchdown during Sunday's 34-24 win over the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately, Peterson missed the boy's hand and accidentally slapped the boy in the face. To be fair, Peterson had only good intentions here. It&...

Evaluating Ponder must be Vikings No. 1 goal

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Christian Ponder arrived at the Metrodome for the Minnesota Vikings' game Sunday against the Detroit Lions in the kind of slump that would perplex even the most veteran quarterbacks. Ponder, though, isn't a veteran -- far from it. He was making his 20th NFL start and likely was prepared for criticism from home fans if he got off to another sluggish start...

Houston PD drops charges against Adrian Peterson

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, the Houston police department has dropped their charges of against Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for resisting arrest. When the video of Peterson at the night club was released, it was pretty obvious that the charges would be dropped at some point.   var _CI = _CI || {}; (function() { var script = document.createElement('script...

Peterson rushes his way into MVP race

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. This season's tale of Adrian Peterson's recovery has had many chapters since major knee surgery on Dec. 30 to repair two torn knee ligaments. First came his intensive offseason rehabilitation work. Second was the wonder if he would be ready to play in the season's first game just over eight months from surgery as was his stated goal from the beginning...

Christian Ponder Fires 2 TDs vs. Lions

Playing without top receiver Percy Harvin, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder still put together his finest effort in weeks, throwing for 221 yards and two scores Sunday against the Lions.Fantasy Spin:Ponder hit rookie Jarius Wright, active for the first time this season, and tight end Kyle Rudolph for touchdowns. The sophomore QB came in having thrown for less than 100 yards in...

NFL Rumors: Could Peyton Manning Or Adrian Peterson Win NFL Comeback Player Of The Year And NFL MVP?

Both Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson are having spectacular NFL seasons in 2012, as both continue to defy the odds and the detractors by proving to modern day medical mysteries. After playing all 13 NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Manning and his former team parted ways after the veteran signal caller missed all of 2011 with neck and back problem. After multiple surgeries...

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings: Hero and Zero of the Game

In a pivotal NFC North game, the Minnesota Vikings were able to overcome the powerful offense of the Detroit Lions, going on to win 34-24.  The Vikings snapped their two game losing streak and were able to improve their record to 6-4 as they swept the Lions this year.Although the Vikings as a team played well, Christian Ponder finally had his rebound game, going 24-32 passing for...

PJD's Game Ten Recap: Lions Lose King of Jungle Crown

Detroit Brought Lions, I Brought Crow: And it's not bad, really. You just have to char it a bit. It's kind of stringy, but that's all. And I'm not eating ALL of the crow, because despite the fact that the Vikings won on Sunday, it doesn't mean that they DOMINATED. All it means is that Purple Jesus saved their ass once again (171 yards and a TD?!), and they got...

Plenty of questions arise after the Lions’ 34-24 loss to the Vikings

Queue up the cynic’s… Same Old’ Lions. Well, we have all waited to find out what the 2012 Detroit Lions are and the verdict is in… The Lions are BAD, 4-5 bad at this point in the season. To have 34 points put up on them with a Christian Ponder quarterbacked team and without one of the league’s most dangerous weapons in Percy Harvin puts up a giant red flag. Oh yeah, the...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.