Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



A fickle win over the felines

MINNEAPOLIS -- There was good reason the Minnesota Vikings were 13-point favorites for Sunday's game against Detroit. The Lions hadn't won a game this season and gave up 42 points in their last visit to the Metrodome.

MINNEAPOLIS -- There was good reason the Minnesota Vikings were 13-point favorites for Sunday's game against Detroit. The Lions hadn't won a game this season and gave up 42 points in their last visit to the Metrodome.

Plus, the Vikings hadn't lost to Detroit at home since 1997 -- a span of 10 games -- and were coming off an emotional victory over New Orleans.

All the ingredients for a blowout in front of a sellout crowd at home, right?

Not even close. The Vikings escaped with a 12-10 victory that put them in a tie atop the NFC North with Chicago and Green Bay.

But few players or fans seemed satisfied after Ryan Longwell's 26-yard field goal with nine seconds left evened Minnesota's record at 3-3.


The fact Adrian Peterson rushed for 100 yards for the first time in three games and Gus Frerotte threw for nearly 300 yards did little to ease the disgust of the announced crowd of 62,867.

The fans booed the Vikings off the field at halftime and beginning chants of "Fire Childress" on more than one occasion in the second half, a reference to their lack of satisfaction with coach Brad Childress.

The players' disgust came later.

"This game should have been a blowout," Minnesota wide receiver Bernard Berrian said. It was hard to argue with him after watching the Vikings offense sputter against the NFL's worst-ranked defense.

The Vikings trailed 3-2 at halftime -- their points courtesy of a first-quarter safety when Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky ran out of the end zone -- and did not get into the end zone until late the third quarter when Berrian did most of the work on an 86-yard touchdown from Frerotte.

This truly was a victory only a coach could love. And Childress, who claimed he did not hear the fans' chants, was happy to take it.

"As far as I'm concerned, that's a great win," he said. "There is no such thing as a bad one in the NFL. I think I told you guys last week, this would be far tougher than I think anyone wanted to make it. Human nature is you want it to be easy. But you know what? It doesn't happen that way in this league. . . . We have a ton of stuff to correct, but that's a great win and a team win."

Indeed, the Vikings will be busy making corrections today before turning their attention to next Sunday's game against the Bears at Soldier Field.


Sunday's mistakes included two lost fumbles by Peterson, five sacks allowed, an interception by Frerotte, a 3-for-15 conversion rate on third down, an 0-for-3 effort in the red zone and seven penalties.

The performance by the defense, two favorable calls by officials and the Lions ineptitude saved the Vikings. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams had one of the best days of his career, getting four of the Vikings' six sacks of Orlovsky, who was starting in place of the injured Jon Kitna.

The Vikings offense, meanwhile, accounted for only 160 yards before Berrian's touchdown.

"We're going three-and-out like the first three or four drives. That's horrible," Berrian said. "We should be embarrassed by that. We should definitely not be in those situations, especially at home. We've got home-field advantage, there's no way anything like that should happen."

Berrian, who has been battling toe and knee injuries, had his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game after the Vikings had not had such an effort since Childress' second regular-season game as coach in 2006.

The bulk of Berrian's yardage came on his third-quarter touchdown. The Vikings used a formation that featured an empty backfield with Berrian in the right slot, tight end Garrett Mills split wide right, receiver Bobby Wade in the left slot and running back Chester Taylor wide left.

Frerotte, working from the shotgun, found Berrian on a 8-yard pass across the middle. Berrian headed left, made two Detroit defenders miss and got a key block from Taylor at the Vikings 40 as he headed down field for the second longest pass play in franchise history.

The Lions, who scored the game's first touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter, held a 10-8 lead at that point. Childress' chart told him to go for two points to tie the score but he decided against it and had Longwell kick the point after.


That appeared to be a major mistake. With 10:09 left in the fourth quarter Longwell had a 38-yard field goal attempt blocked and it appeared the Vikings might lose by that one point.

"At that point it was a little bit too early," Childress said of going for two after the Berrian score. "It is on the chart, it says, "go for it." But not at the end of the third quarter. . . . You just have to decide. It's a coach's decision."

Childress could say this knowing a victory had been secured -- no matter how ugly. For center Matt Birk, it was just another wild moment in a season that isn't even two months old but one he described Sunday as a "freaking roller coaster."

"That's how crazy it is," Birk said. "Seven days ago you were talking about we're all going to get fired. Now we're tied for first place. And we're only six games in. There are still 10 to go. Stay tuned."

What To Read Next
Get Local