What a difference a week makes, huh?
After looking disorganized, disinterested, and generally just disastrous in their season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Minnesota Vikings came out in their home opener and took it to their division rivals, as they defeated the Detroit Lions by a score of 26-16 at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Vikings got the football first after Detroit deferred on the opening coin toss, and they wasted no time in moving down the field. Adrian Peterson carried the ball seven times for 50 yards on the first drive, and Bridgewater converted a big third down to Jarius Wright and converted another in the red zone to set up first-and-goal. Bridgewater then found tight end Kyle Rudolph in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown, and the Vikings had their first touchdown. . .and first lead. . .of the 2015 season at 7-0.
That was all the scoring there was until the second quarter. After Peterson got stuffed on a 3rd-and-1 carry on the first play of the quarter, and the Vikings elected to go for it on fourth-and-goal. Bridgewater faked a handoff to Peterson, and bootlegged around the left side for an easy touchdown run to make the score 14-0. The Lions' defense bit on the fake, and Bridgewater could have walked into the end zone had he chosen to.
The teams exchanged field goals. . .a 26-yarder for Detroit kicker Matt Prater and a 28-yarder for Blair Walsh. . .to make the score 17-3. The Lions got the ball with 2:32 remaining in the half, and moved downfield in rapid fashion, with the drive concluding with a touchdown pass from Stafford to Calvin Johnson from 11 yards out to cut the score to 17-10. That's how they went into the locker room at halftime.
There was a bit of ugliness to start the second half, as the Lions and the Vikings exchanged fumbles. First, Joique Bell coughed one up that was recovered by Andrew Sendejo and returned to the Detroit 6-yard line. However, Peterson fumbled the ball away on the very next play, and the Lions recovered at their own 11. The Lions went three-and-out after the Peterson fumble, and a big punt return for Marcus Sherels gave the Vikings the ball inside the Detroit 35. Minnesota pushed down to the 1-yard line, and Peterson appeared to fumble again, but an offside penalty on the Lions negated another potential turnover. Minnesota finished the drive with Zach Line's first NFL carry, as he plowed into the end zone from a yard out to extend the Vikings' lead to 23-10 after Walsh missed the extra point.
That's where the score stood as the game moved into the third quarter, and it looked like Harrison Smith had the Vikings' first interception of the year, but it was negated by a pass interference penalty on Xavier Rhodes. However, on the next play, Stafford took a shotgun snap and fired a bullet to a wide open. . .Justin Trattou, who happens to play defensive end for the Vikings. That wound up being the Vikings' first interception of the year, as Trattou was taken down at the Detroit 39-yard line. The Vikings did get some points out of the interception, although it was only three as they had to settle for a 23-yarder by Walsh to extend the lead to 26-10.
The Lions got a late touchdown, as Stafford found Eric Ebron on a 12-yard touchdown pass to make the score 26-16. Harrison Smith stuffed the Lions' two-point attempt, and when the Vikings recovered the Lions' onside kick attempt, it pretty much put a bow on it for Minnesota.
Adrian Peterson was the offensive leader for the Vikings, as he carried the ball 29 times for 134 yards, giving him his first 100-yard game since 1 December 2013, when he put up over 200 yards against the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome. He also had two catches for 58 yards, one of them being a 49-yard improv job by Bridgewater in the second quarter. Speaking of Bridgewater, he was efficient on the day, completing 14-of-18 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Rudolph was the recipient of Bridgewater's touchdown pass, and wound up with five receptions for the Vikings for just 30 yards. Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson had three receptions each for 38 and 10 yards, respectively.
Minnesota gets a much needed win to move to 1-1 on the season, and 1-0 in the division. Next week, they will play their first of three consecutive games against AFC West opponents when they host the San Diego Chargers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Lions drop to 0-2 on the young season, and they will have a prime time matchup against the Denver Broncos. . .Minnesota's Week 4 opponent. . .at Ford Field next Sunday night.
The Vikings get back on the right track with a 26-16 victory over the Detroit Lions at TCF Bank Stadium. We'll have more on this game over the course of the next day or two. In the meantime, enjoy the victory, Vikings fans!