- Ben Goessling, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: With a September schedule that included two division road games and a trip to London for a home game, it was important for the Vikings to get off to a good start. But after blowing a 14-6 lead on the road and losing for the ninth time in 10 NFC North road games, they'll have to win in Chicago next week to avoid starting 0-2. The Vikings hope to get defensive tackle Kevin Williams back, and they'll have a week to plug some of the leaks in their run defense that emerged with the six-time Pro Bowler's absence on Sunday. But in what looked like one of the team's more favorable road matchups, the Vikings missed an opportunity.
Stock watch: Falling -- Vikings' defense. They allowed the Lions to post 469 yards, generating little pass rush on Matthew Stafford and getting gashed by Reggie Bush on both the ground and on screen passes. Trailing by three with a chance to get the ball back midway through the fourth quarter, the Vikings committed two penalties on third down -- a roughing-the-passer call on Letroy Guion and a pass interference penalty on Xavier Rhodes -- to extend a Lions drive that would turn into a touchdown.
Simpson emerges: After a disappointing first season in Minnesota, receiver Jerome Simpson caught seven passes for 140 yards on Sunday, hauling in two deep passes from Christian Ponder and posting the third-most yards of his career. His 47-yard reception in the third quarter, where he dove to track down a ball directly over his head, set up a touchdown that got the Vikings within three.
Peterson neutralized: After he galloped 78 yards on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage, Adrian Peterson had a quiet day. He gained just 13 yards on his next 16 carries, scoring two more touchdowns but struggling to take pressure off Ponder, who threw three interceptions and was sacked three times.
What's next: The Vikings (0-1) travel to Chicago next Sunday, looking for their first win in the Windy City since Peterson's rookie year in 2007.