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Vikings 34, Lions 24

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- For one week, the Minnesota Vikings offense got healthy and the Detroit Lions' drive back to relevance was stopped.

In a 34-24 win at Mall of America Field, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder silenced the boos and running back Adrian Peterson continued to hear the cheers as Minnesota (6-3) broke a two-game losing streak.

Despite some determined second-half heroics by quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Lions dropped to 4-5 in an important NFC North matchup. It gave the Vikings the season sweep of the Lions.

Ponder completed 24 of 32 passes for 221 yards and two TDs with no interceptions. Peterson ran 27 times for 171 yards -- his fourth straight 100-yard game -- including a brilliant 61-yard run for a score that gave the Vikings a 31-17 lead with 8:06 left in the game.

Stafford started slowly, but finished fast, completing 28 of 42 passes for 329 yards -- 207 of which went to receiver Calvin Johnson on 12 catches. It was Johnson's third career 200-yard game.

Stafford, who had just 97 passing yards at halftime, got the Lions going in the second half. But as the action heated up the Vikings responded.

Minnesota ultimately built a 34-17 by scoring 18 fourth-quarter points, the final three with 4:36 left on Blair Walsh's fourth field goal of the day after the Lions' second turnover of the game.

The Vikings wasted little time getting on the board.

After forcing a Lions punt, Minnesota got the ball at its 33. Five plays later, on third-and-10 from the 45, Ponder stepped up and launched a 54-yard bomb to Wright, who had lined up in the slot and ran a post, getting behind safety Erik Coleman. Wright, a rookie active for the first time, on his second play, caught the ball and fell at the 1-yard line.

Two plays later, on second-and-goal from the 3, Ponder play-faked then hit Wright for the score.

Three plays into the ensuing possession, Chad Greenway stepped in front of Stafford's pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew for an interception that gave the Vikings the ball at the Lions 28, but the Vikings were forced to settle for the field goal.

The Lions used a 12-play drive that stalled at the Vikings' 23 to pull within 7-3 on Jason Hanson's 41-yard field goal, but the Vikings responded with an 81-yard drive for Walsh's second field goal and a 13-3 lead.

That lead grew to 16-3 in the third when the Vikings, again with good field position, drove from the Lions' 48 to a first-and-goal at the 3. But Ponder fell down after getting a snap, then he completed two short passes and the Vikings were forced again to settle for a field goal.

Then the fireworks started.

Stafford completed passes of 20 and 50 yards to Johnson, then a 16-yarder to Pettigrew for a lightning-fast score to make it 16-10 with 2:55 left in the third quarter.

But the Vikings, and particularly Ponder, responded. He hit on four of five passes for 50 yards in a 62-yard drive that ended with Ponder's 20-yard TD to tight end Kyle Rudolph (seven catches for 64 yards), who caught the ball at the 12, then shook Ricardo Silva's tackle before scoring. Adrian Peterson ran for the two-point conversion to make it 24-10 with 14:15 left in the game.

But Stafford promptly drove the Lions 80 yards in six plays, ending with his one-yard TD pass to Titus Young.

Then it was Peterson time. On first-and-15 from the Vikings' 39, he ran off right tackle and to the outside, scampering 61 yards for the score. When the Vikings turned Johnson's fumble into another field goal moments later the game was out of reach for Detroit.

Notes: Peterson reached 1,000 yards for the fifth time, a franchise record. ... As expected, Vikings receiver Percy Harvin (ankle) was not active. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Michael Jenkins, and the Vikings also activated rookie Jarius Wright for the first time. ... Safety Mistral Raymond returned after missing six games with an ankle sprain, but he did not start. ... Fred Evans started at defensive tackle in place of the injured Letroy Guion (turf toe). ... Tight end John Carlson (concussion) returned to action. ... The Lions again played without both starting safeties, with Louis Delmas (knee) missing his second straight game and sixth overall and Amari Spievey (concussion) missing his third straight game.
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