Vikings vs. Lions: Takeaways from Vikings' 34-24 Loss to Lions
What a debut for Reggie Bush in Detroit. The second overall pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2006, starting his first game for the Detroit Lions, combined for 191 rushing and receiving yards against the Minnesota Vikings.
With only one touchdown on the day , the Vikings were able to stop him short of the goal line, but the Lions were able to score four touchdowns for their 34-24 win.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, the game turned into a track meet, and they allowed a 14-6 lead in the second quarter to slip away.
There were some bright spots, like Adrian Peterson's first touch of the football this season, turning into a 78-yard touchdown.
For Vikings fans, this could either be the start of a very long season or a very exciting one. Here are some takeaways from Week 1.
Adrian Peterson Picked Up Right Where He Left off
Unlike last preseason, Adrian Peterson got to play in the preseason—sort of. He was in on only two snaps of the third preseason game and did not get a chance to get his uniform dirty.
Like last preseason, he opened the regular season with no stats to indicate what kind of season he was going to have.
Everyone found out on the Vikings' first offensive play of the season.
After a botched field-goal attempt on the Lions' first drive of the game gave the ball to the Vikings on their 22-yard line, Peterson sprinted 78 yards for a touchdown.
The key was the blocking at the line of scrimmage that allowed Peterson to hit the Lions' second line of defense without being tackled.
Adrian Peterson Is Not Unstoppable
Adrian Peterson make as big a splash to open the season as possible.
His 78-yard touchdown run, on the Vikings' first offensive play, was only four yards short of his career long set last season against the St. Louis Rams.
The problem is, the Detroit Lions were able to shut him down after that.
It's a good thing Peterson caught the Lions defense before it had a chance to break a sweat, because after his 78-yard touchdown run, he only rushed for another 15 yards on 17 carries—that's only 0.88 yards per carry. He finished with 93 yards on 18 carries.
The Lions' defensive line was able to penetrate at the line of scrimmage and either force Peterson outside, where they contained him, or wrap him up for negative yardage.
The Vikings need to look at the tape and make sure they address what the Lions did to stop Peterson. You know every defensive coordinator in the NFL will be breaking it down.
A Little Competition Is Good
When the Minnesota Vikings drafted Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round, it must have sent a message to Jerome Simpson.
After a disappointing 2012 season where Simpson caught only 26 passes in 12 games, he shined against the Lions in the opener.
He finished with seven receptions for 140 yards. He had a fantastic 47-yard catch in the third quarter that gave the Vikings the ball on the 15-yard line.
On the play, he dove all out for the ball and was able to get his hands on the ball and then under the ball as he hit the ground.
If Simpson continues to play like he did against the Lions, it will be tough for Patterson to get on the field.
The Problem Is Christian Ponder
If the Minnesota Vikings are to make a return trip to the playoffs, they will need Christian Ponder to win them a few games. Yeah, I know. I have a great gift for stating the ridiculously obvious.
Against the Lions, Ponder finished 18-of-28 for 236 yards and a touchdown—unfortunately, he also threw three interceptions. His passer rating for the game was a lowly 63.1.
The first interception came on a slant pattern intended for Jerome Simpson. The ball was thrown high and too far inside for Simpson and was picked off.
The second interception came on a play with Ponder rolling to his left and under pressure. Instead of just throwing the ball away, he attempted to throw across his body. His arm was hit on the play by Ndamukong Suh, and the ball ended up fluttering into the waiting arms of Stephen Tulloch.
If he doesn't throw those two interceptions, his passer rating is an acceptable 87.8.
The Vikings have to find a way to keep Ponder from rolling to his left.
Blair Walsh Is Almost Perfect
Last season, Blair Walsh was perfect from beyond 50 yards, making all 10 attempts he had. It set an NFL record for the most 50-yard field goals made in a season.
On Sunday against the Lions, Walsh's streak of perfection continued. He made a 52-yard field goal in the third quarter, his only try on the afternoon.
Harrison Smith Is a Beast at Safety
On Sunday against the Lions, second-year safety Harrison Smith continued to show that he is a solid tackler.
He finished with seven tackles, tied with fellow safety Jamarca Sanford and linebacker Erin Henderson for the team lead.
The biggest tackle came on a 3rd-and-8, when Matthew Stafford connected on a pass to running back Joique Bell in the flat. Smith came up and stopped Bell short of the first down, forcing the Lions to punt.
Erin Henderson Played Well at the Vikings MLB
Linebacker Erin Henderson faced a lot of uncertainty this past offseason. First he had to wait for the Vikings to sign him to a new two-year contract, then he was moved from outside linebacker to middle linebacker, and finally, the Vikings signed former Green Bay linebacker Desmond Bishop, who played inside linebacker as part of the Green Bay Packers 3-4 defense.
In the end, he prevailed as the Vikings' middle linebacker.
Against the Lions, he finished with seven tackles, tied with Sanford and Smith for the team lead and intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass.
The Vikings Missed Kevin Williams
When the Minnesota Vikings announced that Kevin Williams would be inactive for the Lions game, it was the first game that he missed due to injury since at least 2005. In 2011, he served a two-game suspension as part of the Star Caps controversy.
On Sunday, Lions' running backs Bell and Reggie Bush combined to rush for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
Once a franchise that prided itself on stopping the run, the Vikings need to find a way to stop the opposing running game at the line of scrimmage.
The Vikings Need to Find a Way to Put Pressure on the Quarterback
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford dropped back 43 times on Sunday against the Vikings. They were only able to sack him once—and, of course, that was by Jared Allen.
With time to locate his receivers, Stafford threw for 357 yards yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings.
The Vikings need to find a way to make opposing quarterbacks pay if they are going to drop back 40 times in a game.