It took the Minnesota Vikings a little while to get going, but once they got going, they did so in a big way.
After spotting the Detroit Lions a 14-3 lead on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field, the Vikings' defense took over and pounded Matthew Stafford and company, notching their first NFC North road win since 2012 with a 28-19 win over the Lions.
The Lions struck first, as they got the connection between Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson going early. Stafford found Johnson for a big 46-yard gain on a third down play to put the Lions into Minnesota territory, and the drive concluded with the same two players connecting for a 1-yard touchdown to give Detroit an early 7-0 lead.
After a Blair Walsh field goal made the score 7-3, the Lions took over again and Stafford found Eric Ebron for a huge 55-yard gain on the drive's first play. Stafford would later find Ebron again for a 7-yard touchdown pass, and the Lions were quickly out in front by a score of 14-3.
The two teams then exchanged long field goals, with Walsh connecting from 53 and Matt Prater hitting from 52 to make the score 17-6. Minnesota put together a very good drive, keyed by a 49-yard toss and catch from Teddy Bridgewater to. . .Zach Line? Yes, the Michigan native caught a short pass with nobody around him and rumbled deep into Detroit territory. The drive eventually concluded with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Bridgewater to Kyle Rudolph, but Blair Walsh missed the extra point to leave the score 17-12.
The Vikings put together a decent drive toward the end of the first half, but settled for another field goal from Walsh, as he connected from 51 to make the score 17-15 at the half. The Vikings got the offense going in the second half, putting together a nice drive that was extended by a defensive holding penalty on Detroit that negated a third down sack of Bridgewater. The drive ended with the first NFL touchdown for Stefon Diggs, who got behind the defense and made an outstanding diving catch for a 36-yard score. The extra point by Walsh gave the Vikings their first lead of the afternoon, 22-17.
It looked like the Vikings were poised to get more on their next drive, as Peterson took a handoff on the first play and ripped off a 75-yard gain to the Detroit 3-yard line. However, the drive stalled at that point with Bridgewater getting sacked again, and the Vikings called on Blair Walsh again. Walsh hit his fourth field goal of the afternoon, this one a 35-yarder, and extended the lead to eight at 25-17.
The Vikings got another big drive on their next possession, but once again their offense stalled out in the red zone, and Minnesota had to settle for Blair Walsh's fifth field goal of the day, this one a 22-yarder to make it a two-score game at 28-17. Minnesota's lack of red zone execution came back to haunt them later on, as Stafford and company marched down the field with just under three minutes left in the game. However, with a 4th-and-goal at the 1-yard line, the Lions attempted a pass from Stafford to Theo Riddick, and it fell incomplete, turning it back over to the Vikings on downs.
The Vikings took a safety on Jeff Locke's next punt attempt with about a minute to go to make the score 28-19, but the Lions could not do anything after that, and the Vikings and walked away with their first road victory against an NFC North opponent since winning at Ford Field back in 2012.
Teddy Bridgewater had a great afternoon for the Vikings, as he completed 25-of-35 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target, once again, was Stefon Diggs, who put up his second straight 100-yard game. He had six catches for 108 yards and the outstanding 36-yard touchdown catch. Mike Wallace chipped in with four catches for 36 yards, and Zach Line had 49 yards on his one big catch-and-run. The Lions did a very good job against Adrian Peterson, who didn't look like himself for the second consecutive game. He finished with 98 yards on 19 carries, but 75 of those yards came on one run and the Lions pretty well corralled him for the rest of the afternoon.
For the Lions, Matthew Stafford took another beating, as the Vikings registered seven sacks of the Detroit signal caller on the afternoon. Still, Stafford completed 18-of-26 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon, but neither he nor anyone else on the Detroit offense really did a whole lot after the first quarter of play. Ameer Abdullah led the Lions in rushing with 43 yards on eight carries, and Eric Ebron had 86 yards on five catches to lead the Lions in receiving. Calvin Johnson also had five catches, gaining 83 yards.
With the victory, the Vikings move to 4-2 on the season and have a second straight road game in the NFC North next week as they head to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. The Lions fall to 1-6 on the season, and they will travel to London next week to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Minnesota Vikings get to 4-2 on the season with a 28-19 victory over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field, completing the season sweep. Thanks to everybody that got their coverage of this week's game right here at The Daily Norseman!