The Vikings employed two trick plays with the game well in hand Sunday, but the Detroit Lions had few complaints.
"I thought [they] were good calls," coach Rod Marinelli said after the Vikings' 42-10 victory. "They were nice calls. We have to defend that. We should be geared up to defend those if we are on our keys and our roles. We weren't. That is on me."
The shenanigans began when the Vikings held a 32-point lead with 4 minutes, 7 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Placekicker Ryan Longwell lined up for a 51-yard field-goal attempt, but holder Chris Kluwe instead threw a shovel pass to fullback/tight end Jeff Dugan.
Dugan ran 27 yards to the Lions 6-yard line. Although some teams save their trick plays for close games, coach Brad Childress said, "We may never get that look again," and said it could help limit field goal blocks in future games.
"We need to give somebody a chance to pull off the rush a little bit," he added. "That was [a possibility] from an early stage on. We just wanted to get in there and make somebody else prepare for that."
Two plays after the fake field goal, the Vikings called a halfback option pass, one they have used on three other occasions since the start of last season. Sunday, tailback Chester Taylor threw a perfect pass, but tight end Visanthe Shiancoe dropped it in the end zone.
Tight end Jermaine Wiggins caught a touchdown from Mewelde Moore on a similar play at Seattle last season, and Shiancoe hauled in a pass from receiver Bobby Wade during a preseason game against the Seahawks this summer. Against Kansas City on Sept. 23, Shiancoe appeared to catch Moore's pass but the play was ruled incomplete by replay officials.
"We're 0-2 on the halfback pass [this season]," Childress said. "One drop and I guess the other one you'd call a drop, too, if it was incomplete. We might have to use a different tight end besides Shiancoe over there."
Lions safety Kenoy Kennedy was a little miffed at the Taylor pass but said: "They are trying to get into the playoffs just like we are. They are going to do the same things to give themselves a chance."NFL execs arrive
Two NFL executives are scheduled to meet today with a group of state leaders, hoping to get a better feel for the Vikings' stadium situation as the 2008 legislative session approaches.
Eric Grubman, executive vice president of finance and strategic transactions, and Neil Glat, vice president of strategic planning and business development, are scheduled to spend the day in St. Paul.
The trip is the result of a presentation owner Zygi Wilf made to the league earlier this month in Philadelphia. In that meeting, Wilf described the Vikings' situation as "difficult" because of a "lack of political engagement" on the part of state leaders.Ends to a means
Knowing the Lions' penchant for passing, the Vikings assembled their 45-man active roster with the rare combination of five defensive ends and three defensive tackles. The Vikings also gave Erasmus James his first start since Week 2 of last season.
"We knew it was going to be a pass-rush game, so we started him," Childress said. "He and Ray [Edwards] kind of tag-teamed. ... You saw Jayme Mitchell out there, too. He usually couldn't be [active] if we had four tackles [active], and he gave a good accounting of himself."
Playing a backup role at left end, Mitchell got past right tackle Damien Woody for one of the Vikings' three sacks on Jon Kitna. Woody, a career guard-center, was making his first NFL start at tackle. He was the fourth person to play the position for Detroit this season.
"It was just a speed rush to the outside," Mitchell said. "Nothing fancy. It felt good to rush the passer again."
Mitchell, who has four sacks in 10 NFL games, had been inactive the previous four games and six of 10 this season.
James notched only one tackle. Edwards had no tackles, but he tipped the ball out of Kitna's hands and into defensive end Kenechi Udeze's hands for an interception.
Of the 11 regular starters on the Vikings defense, Udeze and Edwards are the only ones without a career touchdown. Udeze thought his four-season drought was over when he made the catch at the Vikings 36-yard line with about one minute left in the first half.
"You saw how big my eyes got when I saw the end zone," Udeze said. Unfortunately for Udeze, he's probably in for a big-time ribbing when his teammates watch his interception return on film today.
"People don't realize that when you pass rush, you go all out," Udeze said. "And I was going five plays all out. So when I got the ball, I was trying to get my legs up, and it wasn't working."
Udeze lumbered 37 yards to the Detroit 27, setting up a touchdown and a 35-10 lead five plays later.Emotional day
Left tackle Bryant McKinnie admitted he got emotional while watching a pregame video tribute for late Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, his friend and former teammate at the University of Miami.
"Seeing his picture in the beginning was tough," said McKinnie, who will attend Taylor's funeral today in Miami. "But you just try to fight through it. I was just trying to use the anger to do something positive on the field."
Adding to McKinnie's difficult day was a bruised right knee, suffered on the game's first play. Artis Hicks replaced him for most of the Vikings' first series, but McKinnie returned for their second.Injury report
Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield described his strained hamstring as "95 percent" before Sunday's game, but he nevertheless sat out for the fourth time in five games. Childress said he thought Winfield would be "better served" with one more week of recovery.
In other injury news:
• Safety Mike Doss strained his left hamstring and will undergo an MRI today.
• Cornerback Marcus McCauley missed a few plays because of a left shoulder stinger.
• Linebacker Dontarrious Thomas sat out because of a groin strain, and receiver Troy Williamson sat out because of headaches caused by a concussion.Etc.
• Tarvaris Jackson threw touchdown passes of 6 yards, to Wade, and 2 yards, to Sidney Rice. Jackson's previous three scoring passes this season were all exactly 60 yards. Jackson's QB rating of 110.4 was a career high. He had a 139.2 last week against the Giants but had only 12 attempts and didn't meet the minimum (20 attempts).
• Aundrae Allison's three kickoff returns averaged 47.7 yards, a team record. Jimmy Edwards avearged 44.0 on three returns against Tampa Bay on Nov. 25, 1979.
• In addition to Winfield, Thomas and Williamson, the Vikings' other gameday inactives were safety Tank Williams, tight end Garrett Mills, defensive tackle Conrad Bolston and offensive lineman Chase Johnson.
KEVIN SEIFERT, MARK CRAIG AND CHRIS MILLER