The game to separate the men from the boys
Detroit (6-5) at Minnesota (5-6), noon
Can Matt Millen's Team end their skid?
Matt Millen looks far too much like George Papadopolis to be President and CEO of an NFL team. He might have success raising a vertically challenged adoptee with a spiked-hair socialite, sure, but a 30-77 record during his tenure with the Detroit Lions leaves a lot to be desired for their fans.
After starting 6-2, Detroit has dropped three in a row to the likes of Arizona, the New York Giants, and the Pack. Today they will be looking to turn things around against a hot Vikings team.
Does winning 2 consecutive games make the Vikings hot? Let’s hope so.
With a whopping six teams at 5-6 looking in from the outside, the battle for the wild card spots in the NFC could be a little clearer after today. The Vikings need to win their home games especially against division foes; a record that might be of great importance given a team’s divisional record decides the tiebreaker.
Helping the cause today at the dome is the return of rookie phenom Adrian Peterson. Look for him to share the load with Chester Taylor, but the Vikes cannot forget about the aerial attack against Detroit. They’re nearly as poor against the pass as Minnesota averaging 286.5 yds/game against. We know the Lions are going to put up some points with their core of receivers and Minnesota’s reputation for giving up the big play on defense, the Vikings need to keep playing mistake free football on offense and apply a strong and steady dose of pressure on Detroit QB Jon Kitna to avenge the overtime loss in D-town week 2.
12:45 1st quarter
And we’re under way. So I'm sitting here in the Viking's Press box in Jeff Leinen's seat. Jeff apparently works in some capacity for the Detroit press. I'm supposed to be in the auxiliary press room. I don't know where that is. No one does. Maybe Jeff does. No matter, just keep your head down, and look like you know what you're doing.
For the Lions first drive they unveiled their all-new, all-pass offense with mixed success. I hope the Vikings secondary knows what they're doing.
7:24 left 1st quarter
The two-headed beast of Taylor and Peterson leads to the first score of the game. A 2 yard run by Taylor into the endzone, 7-0 Minnesota. Detroit's defense looks slow and a little out of sorts to begin the game.
1:57 left 1st quarter
Detroit has to settle for a field goal after a solid drive. The Vikings defense deploys the popular "bend, don't break" strategy.
And by the way, the Wi-fi here at the dome must of been installed back in 1982. Another great feature of this amazing facility.
11:23 left 2nd quarter
Adrian Peterson makes it look so easy with a 16 yard dash into the endzone. In the process, he makes the Lions defense look silly.
I think the questions about his knee have been answered.
9:37 left 2nd quarter
The Lions impress everyone with a 73 yard 4 play drive for a touchdown but before Vikings fans can begin to bitch, Aundrae Allison sets the team record for longest kickoff return and longest play in Vikings franchise history with a 103 yard scamper down the sideline for the score. 21-10 Vikings.
2:17 left 2nd quarter
Jackson completes a 6 yard pass to Bobby Wade for the Vikings touchdown. We can't be stopped. 28 points in the first half! Where the hell did this come from? I have to admit Tarvaris Jackson has played a very nice first half. He's making Brad Childress look good, which I don't think is easy.
0:53 left 2nd quarter
Just when you think the Lions are going to drive in for the score right before the half, the Vikings get to Kitna and force a deflected ball to drop right into Kenechi Udeze's hands. He rumbles down deep into Lions' territory setting up another scoring opportunity.
0:05 left 2nd quarter
An amazing catch by Sidney Rice on a beautiful 15 yard touch pass from Jackson! The dome is rocking today. The fans haven't seen a first half like this in some time. Score at the half: 35-10 Vikings.
Two highlights for me here at the half: one, meeting Jerry Burns - he's a bit of an idol for me. Unfortunately he's getting on a bit in the age department to unleash another cuss-laden explosion for me. And two, getting to see Tim Mahoney before the game sing the Star Spangled Banner. What a voice, what a star! The Vikings spare no expense.
No one expected the first half to go so well. The Vikes are running the ball effectively with 154 yards on the ground. Jackson is playing spectacular. 10 of 13 for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. The defense continues its strong play allowing a mere 4 yards from the Lions' rushing attack and clamping down in the red zone.
The 35 points in the 1st half was the second most ever in a half for the Vikings and the most since 1998.
It'll be interesting to see if Minnesota can keep this up in the second half. The lead is large but not insurmountable. They should go to their bread and butter and run it down Detroit's throat. They don't need any more points to win, they need to control the ball and keep the pressure on the Lions' offense.
3:50 left 3rd quarter
The Detroit press core is embarassed. Some are leaving. The Vikings, looking like they were about to attempt a 51 yard field goal, faked it and Chris Kluwe shoveled the ball to Hacksaw Jeff Dugan for a 27 yard gain.
End of the 3rd quarter Vikings 42 Detroit 10
I suppose the instant replay is a good thing when attempting to make things right that the referees miss- and I'm sure the advertisers love them- but when at the game they drag on and on and it really can change the whole atmosphere inside the stadium.
The quarter just ended after the longest official review of all time. Mike Furrey was down by contact after the reception. Now that that's out of the way, they can hurry up and punt the ball back to the Vikings.
7:55 left 4th quarter
Jeff had a great seat today.
No sight of Jeff Leinen yet. I'm beginning to become concerned for his safety. Actually a lot of Detroit's press seats are sitting empty. More crappy potato salad for me I guess. I'm sure Jeff is sitting at home glad he didn't make the trip to Minneapolis today. Not a great day to be associated with Detroit football. They're headed for their fourth loss in a row and now are tied with the Vikings at 6-6. These are two team headed in opposite directions.
4:00 left in 4th quarter
Stick a fork in this game. The Exodus has begun here at the dome.
Vikings 42, Detroit 10
Adrian Peterson was again the center of the Vikings offensive attack.
This game was finished after Adrian Peterson trotted into the end zone for his second score of the game early in the 4th quarter. As a Vikings fan, it was a relief to see "All Day" get back into things with 116 yards and 2 scores. Perhaps even better for Minnesotans and more unexpected was Tarvaris Jackson's maturity into a reasonable quarterback. He's played well the last couple of games, but today he became a reliable presence for the Vikings.
Next week the Vikings hit the road and travel to San Francisco to play arguably the worst team in the NFC. The 49ers have had a down year and the key to this game will be if Brad Childress can keep the Vikings focused on their opponent and not looking ahead to the Monday night showdown with the Chicago Bears week 15.