Coming off an emotional victory against San Francisco no one expected the Vikings to put forth a strong effort on the road against Detroit. Well, it might be time to start believing in this Minnesota team. This was an impressive a win as they could possibly get early in the season. They flat out were more physical then Detroit, and that is a testament to coach Leslie Frazier.
Detroit entered the game with a disappointing 1-2 record but still many dangerous offensive weapons. The Vikings completely took away the run game which played a major role in being able to stop Detroit. Although Stafford was able to throw for over 300 yards he threw for no TD’s and was sacked 5 times. Also, only 55 of those passing yards went to Calvin Johnson. The Vikings were able to do a great job containing him. Credit has to be sent to Antoine Winfield for that who played a sensational game. This Vikings defense has been the most surprising part of the team early on. They are getting contributions from unexpected places. Defensive End Everson Griffen had two sacks Sunday, Jasper Brinkley filling in for the injured Erin Henderson had 10 tackles and safety Jamarca Sanford has really stepped up his play. Most importantly they have gotten the contributions that they expect to get. Chad Greenway has played like an all-pro, and Jared Allen has played like the perennial pro-bowler that he is. With the defense consistently performing to this level Minnesota can compete week in and week out. I will admit I was dead wrong on here in preseason when I talked about the lack of talent defensively for this team across the board, they have proved me wrong.
Offensively, Minnesota had to rely heavily on the run game as Christian Ponder struggled to get into a rhythm. This was not a problem for AP who has not skipped a beat after coming back from the major knee surgery this off season. He was able to carry the ball 21 times Sunday and catch the ball 4 times for 20 yards. All together he had 122 all purpose yards, not bad for a guy who was not even supposed to be playing at this point of the season.
While Ponder struggled for most of the day he did make a key throw late in the game to Jerome Simpson. Simpson playing in his first game coming off suspension led the team in receiving with 50 yards on 4 catches. It was an impressive debut from the play making receiver. Harvin struggled to do much in the passing game but, made possibly the biggest play of the game for the Vikings. Harvin took the opening kick off 105 yards to give the Vikings an early 7-0 lead and they never looked back holding the lead throughout. The lack of offensive consistency continued to be picked up by the special teams when Marcus Sherels ran a punt 77 yards to make the lead 20-6. The Vikings defense surrendered one TD to make it interesting late, but the offense was able to gain some field position late. Once again the special teams made a huge play. Punter Chris Kluwe pinned the Lions on their own 2 yard line. It Proved to be too much for the Lions offense to drive 98 yards in under 2 minutes with no timeouts and the Vikings went on to win.