Vikings vs. Lions: Defense, Special Teams Lead Minnesota to Big Division Win
The NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings.
Roll that around on your tongue, Vikings fans. Savor it.
It wasn't expected, and even after the big win against the San Francisco 49ers, nobody thought it would last.
Yet a highly physical defense and some fantastic special teams play (with some awful special teams play on the part of the Lions) have now made it two big wins in a row after a 20-13 win over Detroit, putting the Vikings in charge of the NFC North at a time when people expected them to be making early reservations for golf games in January.
Christian Ponder continues to play efficient, mistake-free football, smoothly adding Jerome Simpson to Kyle Rudolph and Percy Harvin, a trio that kept the chains moving even if it didn't put up giant numbers.
And is there anything more you can say about Adrian Peterson? The man looked like vintage Peterson on Sunday—shifty, fast and determined.
The story, though, is a defense that sacked Lions quarterback Matt Stafford five times, including at key spots in the fourth quarters.
The Vikings as a whole brought the same physical style of play that knocked the Niners onto their heels early last week.
The Lions had no luck running the ball, as the Vikings defensive line got penetration frequently to meet Mikel Leshoure in the backfield. As solid as Leshoure looked last week, he looked awful today.
Of course, you can't ignore the two touchdowns Minnesota's special teams produced, starting with Percy Harvin's franchise-record 105-yard kick return for a touchdown and mirrored by Marcus Sherels' 77-yard punt return in the third quarter.
This Vikings defense will keep this team in the hunt as the offense gets its legs. At some point Ponder and Co. need to be contributing consistently, but the defense is going to give them a shot every week if it continues this physical style of play.
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Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.
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