1. Norv knows football
This Norv Turner fella has learned a thing or two in 41 years of coaching football. So it’s no surprise that he found a nice blend of ways to integrate Adrian Peterson into the offense with carries from the shotgun, I-formation and even one pistol formation. “It definitely worked out,” Peterson said after Sunday’s 26-16 win over the Lions at TCF Bank on Sunday. “We started off out of the ‘I’ and made some big plays. Came back out of the gun and completed some passes, so you got the defense on their heels and they don’t know what to expect.” Peterson ran 13 times for 101 yards (7.8) with no fullback and Teddy Bridgewater under center. He ran six times for 8 yards (1.3) with a fullback and Bridgewater under center, nine times for 27 yards (3.0) out of the shotgun and one time for minus-2 yards when lined up in the pistol formation behind Bridgewater in the shotgun.
2. Rhodes mirrors Megatron
For the second straight Lions game, cornerback Xavier Rhodes shadowed star receiver Calvin Johnson. The early rounds went to Rhodes, but “Megatron” got in enough blows to make it a close bout. The view from here would give Rhodes a tightly split decision because the early shutdown work enabled the Vikings to gain control. Johnson was targeted 17 times, catching 10 for 83 yards and a touchdown. Rhodes covered him on 14 of the throws, giving up eight catches for 65 yards and the touchdown. Captain Munnerlyn gave up the other two catches for 18 yards. Rhodes also was called for defensive holding and a 27-yard pass interference penalty that negated an interception. The touchdown was a perfectly-thrown ball to a perfectly-caught reception against extremely tight coverage in the front corner of the end zone. The play had to be reviewed and was allowed to stand because replays were inconclusive. This will be a fun matchup to watch for years.
3. Penalty! Same old Lions
The Vikings drew four more penalties (10-6) for 58 more yards (97-39). But it sure seemed like the Lions were, well, the same old Lions when it came to inopportune blunders. Their defense jumped offside at its 1-yard line twice. The first time, end Ezekiel Ansah’s penalty was declined because Bridgewater scored on fourth-and-1. The second time, the Vikings accepted end Jason Jones’ mistake because Peterson fumbled the ball away in the end zone. The Lions also botched drives or extended Vikings drives by false-starting on first down at the Vikings 12 and committing defensive holding inside their 10-yard line.
4. Wright reverse timing’s right
Turner also showed he also knows a little bit about timing as well. Late in the first quarter, Peterson had carried the ball on 11 of the team’s first 19 offensive snaps. The Vikings were in the shotgun when he got what looked to be his 12th touch. He took the ball, moved to his right and then flipped the ball to receiver Jarius Wright, who scooted around left end, past a surprised defense, for a 29-yard gain to the Detroit 6-yard line. The Vikings scored three plays later to take a 14-0 lead. “I thought it was perfect timing when I heard the play call,” Peterson said. “Jarius kind of gave me the look, because in practice I’ve kind of kept it a couple of times.” Said Wright: “Norv does a great job of picking the perfect time to make those calls. I trusted him. For sure.”
5. Kalil finds reason to smile
A year ago at TCF Bank Stadium, left tackle Matt Kalil gave up 2½ sacks to Lions end Ezekiel Ansah. Sunday, the public punching bag from that eight-sack loss a year ago had reasons to smile. The Vikings won and Kalil didn’t give up a sack. Ansah had the Lions’ only sack of the day, but it came while he was lined up across from rookie right tackle T.J. Clemmings. Kalil was flagged for a personal foul when he finished off a block a little harder than the officials would have liked him to. “You want to play physical,” Kalil said. “Obviously, you want to be smart, too. But we wanted to get after them. I don’t think people will get mad that I’m trying to finish a play.”