Craig: Five extra points

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 1, 2012 - 12:39 AM

Adrian Peterson finished with 102 yards rushing and a 4.9-yard average with the help of the Vikings offensive line.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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1. Offensive line getting into a groove

Adrian Peterson's longest run was an 18-yarder on first-and-14 from his own 5 in the second quarter. It illustrated just how much more dominant the Vikings offensive line is this year. "Me and Sully came together and moved the defensive tackle that's the inside shade on me," said left guard Charlie Johnson, referring to center John Sullivan. "It's a combo block where we move that guy and I get to the second level and block the linebacker. We did that, Adrian made a great read." Ten plays later, the Vikings kicked a field goal for a 10-point lead. Not bad for a drive that started with a false start. "I had to block that play well," Johnson said. "I was the guy who got the false start."

2. Greenway: "I'm sure a fine is coming"

Defenders sometimes have less than a split second to pull up before colliding with a defenseless receiver. Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was put in that exact situation with 12 minutes left in the game and the Vikings ahead by 14. Calvin Johnson didn't come down with the ball on a pass over the middle. Greenway tried to pull up, but knew he was going to be flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness when his shoulder pad hit Johnson's helmet and knocked the All-Pro receiver to the turf. "He's the most premier wide receiver in the NFL," said Greenway, who threw his hands up to try to get out of the penalty. "He makes that catch nine times out of 10 in that situation. I knew they would call that, and I'm sure a fine is coming. But I hope the league also sees that I was trying to pull off him and keep it clean and not injure him."

3. Ponder still pick-less

Who'd have thought after last year's four-turnover game at Detroit that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder would be leaving Ford Field closing in on team records for consecutive passes without an interception? Ponder has 124 consecutive passes -- 123 this season -- without an interception. The team record is 193 by Warren Moon. Ponder has gone four games without a pick, one behind Fran Tarkenton's team record.

4. Lions run-heavy?

When a team throws the ball 51 times and runs it 20, it's tough to say it overcommitted itself to the run. But that's the feeling -- and the boos -- that were created when Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, the former Vikings offensive coordinator, decided on a dive play on third-and-1 from the Minnesota 40 while trailing by two TDs in the third quarter. Mikel Leshoure was stuffed easily for no gain, and the Lions punted. "I really didn't expect them to run it in that situation," Greenway said. "It was a surprise because I looked for them to do something outside. But I'm glad they ran it there."

5. Robinson mimics WWE

Vikings rookie cornerback Josh Robinson learned a lesson without having to pay much for it. He was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness when he lifted Nate Burleson off the ground and body-slammed him over his shoulder late in the second quarter. "I was like, 'I didn't hear the whistle,' so I kept playing," Robinson said. "Then they said it's actually a penalty when you slam someone like that. That was something I wasn't aware of. I seen [former NFL safety] Brian Dawkins do that, so that's what really made me want to do it. I know now that it's not the right thing to do." The penalty gave the Lions a first-and-goal at the 8, but the Vikings held the Lions to a field goal.

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