Adrian Peterson and the Vikings (6-4) were just too strong for the Lions (4-5) as they came away with a 34-24 win at Mall of America Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Peterson had a huge game on the ground rushing for 171 yards and 1 TD on 27 carries. “I still can get stronger. I’m still not there, man. I’m pressing to get there,” Peterson said, when asked about whether he’s 100 percent healthy.
“I’m going to come back stronger and better after the bye.”
Peterson tacked on 120 yards in the final 15 minutes of the game. This was his third straight game with a 60 yard gain or longer.
Christian Ponder came back strong after a couple of bad weeks throwing for 221 yards and two touchdowns on 24-32 passing for the Vikings.
“You could tell he was more confident, got into a rhythm,” Peterson said. “He was just playing ball. Playing loose. That’s what we need from him.”
Jarius Wright filled in for injured Percy Harvin and was able to score in his first NFL game. Tight end Kyle Rudolph had a TD in the fourth quarter as well.
“Just going out and playing without worrying about the consequences of your throws,” Ponder said. “Go out and let it rip, that’s what I did.”
Calvin Johnson amassed 207 yards on 12 catches, including a TD that brought the Lions within reach with 1:53 left. But Johnson’s fumble near midfield on the previous possession put Vikings kicker Blair Walsh in the right spot for his fourth field goal of the game.
“That was tough, especially in the situation of the game that it was, it hurt. I hate turning the ball over, man, that sucks. I can’t speak for everybody; I speak for our offense and our receivers. I feel like we took advantage of a lot of opportunities that we had today and there are still more to be had and there is more that we can do obviously because we didn’t come away with the win,” Johnson said.
Matthew Stafford threw TD passes to Young and Pettigrew to top off 80 plus yard drives in the second half, but just wasn’t enough after a lackluster start to the game.
The rest of the schedule is tough for both teams. The Lions remaining opposition took a combined 44-16 record into this Sunday, looking down the barrel of facing Green Bay and Houston next. The Vikings have four of their last six on the road with their only home games against Green Bay and Chicago.
“If you want to be a good football team, these are the games that you really have to win,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier stated. The Vikings are looking to get back to the playoffs since their last stint in 2009.
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