Starting the second quarter of play, the Minnesota Vikings found themselves in a significant hole, trailing the Detroit Lions by a score of 14-3 after two Matthew Stafford touchdown passes. Things got off to a nice start, with Teddy Bridgewater finding Stefon Diggs for a big 30-yard gain on 3rd-and-2 to put the Vikings into Detroit territory. Another first down put the Vikings just outside the Lions' red zone once again, but Teddy Bridgewater was sacked by Haloti Ngata for a huge loss. Again, the Vikings called on Blair Walsh, and again he was true, this time converting from 53 yards out to cut the Detroit lead to 14-6.
The Lions started their next drive at their own 19-yard line, and Detroit went to work again. Xavier Rhodes was whistled for a pass interference penalty that gave the Lions a big gain and put them close to midfield, but the Minnesota defense finally made a stand, keyed by a big sack of Matthew Stafford by Chad Greenway. Marcus Sherels returned the Sam Martin punt to the Minnesota 17-yard line, and the Vikings offense took over once again.
The Vikings faced a third down on their next drive in pretty short order, but Teddy Bridgewater made a great throw to the returning Charles Johnson for a 21-yard gain to keep the drive going. However, it was for naught, as Adrian Peterson gave up his fourth fumble of the season at the Minnesota 42-yard line with the Lions recovering. Fortunately, the Lions had to settle for three, courtesy of Everson Griffen taking Stafford down for a big sack. Matt Prater came on and connected from 52 yards out to extend Detroit's lead back to 11 at 17-6.
Minnesota took over on their own 21-yard line on their next drive, and after a pass to Stefon Diggs picked up a first down, the Vikings chose to unleash their secret weapon. . .Zach Line. Line was wide open and turned a short reception into a big 49-yard gain down to the Detroit 19-yard line. Jerick McKinnon then had a great run down to the Detroit 10-yard line, and McKinnon got the call again to set up first-and-goal at the 4. On 3rd-and-goal from the 1, Bridgewater found tight end Kyle Rudolph for a 1-yard touchdown pass. Unfortunately, just when you thought Blair Walsh was back, he missed the extra point to make the score 17-12.
The Vikings' defense came back with a vengeance on the next drive, with Harrison Smith sacking Stafford for the third time on the afternoon and Eric Ebron inexplicably running out of bounds on a third down play to allow the Vikings to get the ball back with plenty of time near midfield. Teddy found Mike Wallace to get the ball to the Detroit 40, and the Vikings pushed as far as the Detroit 25-yard line. However, Bridgewater got sacked on third down, and Walsh came in and hit from 51 to make the score 17-15 going into the locker room at halftime.
Bridgewater put together a brilliant first half, completing 15-of-20 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. The same can not be said of Adrian Peterson, who is struggling once again. . .he has carried nine times, but gained just 14 yards. He has sat out stretches of the first half due to injuries, and has one lost fumble to his credit. Jerick McKinnon has 23 yards on six carries in Peterson's stead. Line's big 49-yard catch has him leading the Vikings in receiving yards. Stefon Diggs has caught three passes for 43 yards, and Mike Wallace has three grabs for 37 yards thus far.
For the Lions, Matthew Stafford has completed 9-of-13 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns, one to Calvin Johnson and one to Eric Ebron. Ameer Abdullah has 35 yards on five carries thus far for Detroit to lead them in rushing. Ebron leads the Lions in receiving with three catches for 67 yards, but 55 of those came on one catch.
As we move to the second half of play, the Minnesota Vikings trail the Detroit Lions by a score of 17-15. Minnesota will receive the second half kickoff after deferring on the coin toss. Can the Vikings come back and get a rare NFC North road victory?