The Vikings got their first victory of the season Sunday and entered their bye week with a better feeling after defeating the Detroit Lions 24-10 at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome.
Adrian Peterson had a huge day with 160 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 23 carries. The Vikings passing game still is not functioning very well, and Brett Favre said it needs to come together quickly considering the schedule after the bye.
The Vikings were only 3-of-11 on third down and Favre threw two interceptions and finished with a 68.4 passer rating.
"We're not near as good as we were last year," he said. "I'm reluctant to say not very good and I'm talking about me and the passing game. I'm not talking about anyone else. We have to figure out a way to do it or it's going to be a tough road. I hope we figure that out. There better be some urgency."
Naturally, Peterson got a lot of praise inside the locker room for his effort. Favre started to credit the "run game" but quickly caught himself and called it "our Adrian."
"Sometimes there’s a big gaping hole and he goes that way," Favre said. "Sometimes if its congested, you’re like, ‘There’s no way he’s getting out of this, and then he goes for 80.' In some ways that’s how I’ve played. On that one, especially right now with how we’re struggling in the passing game, it was nice to see. I’ll take points any way we can get them, regardless of how we play. That sure takes a lot of pressure off of me and the passing game when you can do that. It’s been since the Cleveland game last year since he's been that dominating. Maybe it’s gotten the offensive line going. That was a very active, physical defense. To do it against that defense is pretty impressive."
We'll have plenty more on Favre and Peterson online and in the paper. Here are some other notes and quotes from the postgame:
Cornerbacks Cedric Griffin and rookie Chris Cook returned from knee injuries and made their season debut.
Griffin played in his first game since suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in the NFC Championship game last January. Cook, a second-round pick, made his NFL debut after suffering a torn meniscus in the third preseason game.
Griffin assumed his starting spot at right cornerback, while Cook started at left corner with Antoine Winfield over the slot as the nickel back.
Griffin (three tackles) played the entire game while Cook (four tackles, one pass breakup) was used in nickel situations.
“The coaching staff told me I’m [playing] this week so I was ready to go,” Griffin said. “I wasn’t expecting anything less. I went out there and proved to our team and to our opponent that I can still play.”
Griffin said he didn’t think about his knee during the game.
“I just put it out of my mind,” he said. “This is a physical game and you just never know what’s going to happen so I just go out there full speed every time when I play.”
Cook injured his knee late in the preseason and had arthroscopic surgery. Cook created a buzz with his aggressiveness and play-making in camp and he showed flashes of that in his debut.
“I’m a confident guy,” he said. “I didn’t let [the injury] kill my confidence. I just looked at it as a minor setback for a major comeback. I just worked as hard as I could to get back. I feel on my way to something great.”
A mini scrum
Jared Allen and several teammates accused Lions quarterback Shaun Hill of igniting a scrum by delivering a cheap shot to Allen in the third quarter. "There was a little pushing and shoving and then someone wanted to jump in and spear me,” Allen said. “It’s big boys doing big boy things.”
On third-and-20, Hill was sacked by Brian Robison. Players on both teams started pushing and shoving. Several Vikings players said Hill elbowed Allen in the exchange.
“They always want to protect the quarterbacks, but what are you going to do when the quarterback does that,” Allen said. “He was trying to get up throwing elbows and then hell broke loose.”
Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards jumped into the fray immediately.
“We protect our guys by any means necessary,” Edwards said. “I was just protecting my guy. ... Shaun elbowed him in the head. (Another guy) kind of speared him a little bit. There was a lot going on in that play. I’m not going to let anybody take advantage of my guys up front.”
Not surprisingly, the Lions viewed the incident differently.
“All I can say about that is I, we, are not going to be anybody’s punk out there,” Hill said.
Safety Tyrell Johnson, a second-round pick in 2008, was inactive for the first time in his career. Johnson started 15 regular-season games in 2009 at strong safety but has lost his job to Husain Abdullah.
Abdullah showed why he’s earned the coaching staff’s trust and confidence, finishing with five tackles and two pass breakups. He made an open-field tackle on Maurice Morris the first play of the game. He had a diving pass breakup on a throw to tight end Tony Scheffler near the goal line in the second quarter.
“I felt good this week and I wanted to play with energy,” Abdullah said. “That was my big thing, play with energy. They ended up spilling everything to me so I got the credit for it. I’m just starting to get a feel for everything. Everything is starting to slow down a little bit. I’m just trying to make plays.”
Defense strong again
The Vikings defense has now allowed only four touchdowns in three games. The Vikings also held Detroit to 3-of-12 on third down, limited the Lions to 63 yards rushing and grabbed two interceptions in the final three minutes.
"We have to keep working though," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "But it feels good to finally pay off and get a win."
Bye week begins
Coach Brad Childress said the team has a meeting Monday morning and then the players are off for a week. The team will return to practice the following Monday.