This wasn't quite the dominant performance some were expecting, but the Vikings nevertheless overcame some stumbles to avoid yet another dramatic finish -- and they came out of the bye week with a solid win.
What went wrong for the Vikings today? Simple: Unforced errors. Too many penalties (though some, most notably a roughing the passer call which ultimately gave the Lions seven points rather than three, were horrible calls), a turnover by Adrian Peterson as he sprinted his way toward the endzone (with Sidney Rice missing an opportunity to recover the fumble), too many dropped passes (I'm looking at you, Bernard Berrian), and a couple promising drives early on that failed to land any points for the Vikings.
But if the negative aspects of this game were mainly things the Vikings inflicted on themselves, that could almost be considered a positive. It gives Chilly something to bug his players about. It proves that this team still has progress to make, despite its 8-1 record and its commanding lead in the NFC North.
On the positive side, Sidney Rice was absolutely spectacular. His outstanding season continued today with seven receptions and 201 yards -- so he was responsible for well over half of Brett's 344 passing yards. The passing game headlined this one, though Adrian did land himself a spot on the highlight reel with an amazing 22-yard touchdown run in the first half that gave the Vikings a 10-0 edge. Still, his fumblitis remains an issue.
It's tough to say much more about this game -- the Vikings probably should have took control earlier than they did, but even during some of their first half stumbles, they never seemed to be legitimately in danger of losing the game (T-Jack even got in the act after a Favre-to-Dugan touchdown sealed the deal). Brett Favre continues to stretch the field while limiting his mistakes and avoiding turnovers. Kevin Smith posed some problems for the Vikings defense, but the D nevertheless played well enough to win. Only the various unforced errors and miscues ever put the result of this game in doubt -- and when the result of the game was in doubt, it wasn't in doubt for long. The Vikings controlled the game more than the score would indicate.
The missed opportunities in the first half to put the Lions away early, along with the penalties, give the Vikings something to build off of in future weeks. And indeed, this was hardly a perfect performance. But 27-10 looks the same in the standings as 45-0, and Sidney's brilliance easily overshadows any of the downers from this game.