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Sunday, November 11, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Vikings 34, Lions 24

By Kevin Seifert


MINNEAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on Sunday's events at the Metrodome:

What it means: The Minnesota Vikings snapped a two-game losing streak with an improbably productive offensive effort with leading receiver Percy Harvin sidelined. The Vikings are 6-4, including 2-0 in the NFC North after sweeping the Detroit Lions this season, and can't be ruled out of the NFC playoff race. The Lions, meanwhile, are now 4-5, including 0-3 in the division. They would need to finish at least 5-2, if not 6-1, to make the playoffs. And that's with the NFL's most difficult strength of schedule.

Spreading it out: Harvin's absence forced Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder to look elsewhere for production, and he found it with surprising ease after a months' worth of struggles. His 54-yard pass to rookie receiver Jarius Wright on the opening drive appeared to give the whole team confidence, and Ponder went on to complete 24 of his 32 passes to nine different receivers. Most notably, tight end Kyle Rudolph (two receptions in past three games) was brought out of mothballs for seven receptions, 64 yards and one touchdown.

PetersonWatch: The Vikings' early passing success paved the way for a triple-digit fourth quarter for tailback Adrian Peterson. After totaling 51 yards through three quarters, Peterson had 120 yards in the fourth, including a game-clinching 61-yard scamper. Peterson finished with 171 yards, and in four games he has rushed for a stunning 629 yards.

Lions offense: The Lions got a 207-yard day from receiver Calvin Johnson, but for the most part the Lions had trouble stringing together drives. Why? They failed on their first eight third-down attempts and finished the game with only one third-down conversion. If you're not scoring on big plays, you're going to have a hard time scoring at all under those circumstances.

Safety dance: The Lions played without starting safeties Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey, both of whom were injured, and in this case it showed. Backup Erik Coleman was beat on Wright's 54-yard play, while Ricardo Silva missed a makeable tackle on Rudolph's 20-yard touchdown reception.

Injury report: Lions defensive end Cliff Avril did not return after leaving on the second play of the third quarter. He was evaluated in the Lions' locker room for a possible concussion. The Lions used Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson in his place. Meanwhile, Lions cornerback Chris Houston did not return after injuring his ankle midway through the fourth quarter. Houston eventually was taken to the locker room on a cart.

What's next: The Lions will host the Green Bay Packers next Sunday at Ford Field. The Vikings have their bye.