Vikings, Peterson speed past Lions 24-10

Published 10:27 pm Sunday, September 26, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Brett Favre and the high-flying Minnesota Vikings offense has been grounded early this season.

That’s exactly where Adrian Peterson likes it.

With Favre again struggling to move the ball through the air, Peterson rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 24-10 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Email newsletter signup

Peterson bounced off Lions tacklers all day and ripped off an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that put the game out of reach, delivering the Vikings (1-2) their first victory of a season that began with Super Bowl aspirations.

“That’s really just the mentality that I have,” Peterson said. “When things aren’t really going well, I want to get the guys going up front and establish the run game. We were pretty productive.”

After showing plenty of feistiness in losses to Chicago and Philadelphia, the Lions (0-3) lost their 22nd straight road game — the third longest streak in NFL history — and 13th in a row at the Metrodome.

Detroit’s dynamic rookie Jahvid Best was held to seven carries for 26 yards and left the game in the third quarter with a right big toe injury. Coach Jim Schwartz said Best, who racked up 232 total yards last week, aggravated a Week 1 injury.

Subbing for the injured Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill was 29 of 43 for 237 yards and a TD, but threw two interceptions in the end zone as the Lions tried to rally late.

“Shaun battled his way through it, but when it’s one-dimensional you’re going to get sacks and you’re going to get interceptions because you don’t have a run game,” Schwartz said.

Favre was 23 of 34 for 201 yards with one touchdown and two more interceptions — one that was tipped — on another shaky afternoon for the Vikings passing game.

So the Vikings turned to the man who carried the offense during his first two seasons in the league. Call it Vikings, B.F. — Before Favre.

“There was definitely a sense of urgency,” Peterson said. “Starting 0-2 was not the plan. Going into the bye week, guys had the mentality that it was a home game and we’ve got to come out and get this win.”

Peterson ran over, around and through the Lions defense in his biggest day since rushing for 180 yards in the season opener last year.

“Especially right now with how we’re struggling in the passing game, that sure was nice to see. … That takes a lot of pressure off of me and the passing game,” Favre said.

Peterson rushed for nearly 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, but some followers called it a “down year” for a player who has set the bar so high for himself. His longest run of the year was a 64-yarder in the opener, but the rest of his season lacked that signature Peterson flair.

It returned in a hurry in the third quarter when Peterson burst through a tiny crack, stiff-armed safety C.C. Brown and cut to the right before turning on the jets for the longest run of his career to give Minnesota a 24-10 lead.

“I was able to press it, cut back and bounce it outside,” Peterson said. “And it was off to the races.”

The Lions came into the game tied for the NFL lead in sacks and determined to show everyone that they were no longer the NFC North doormats they have been for most of this decade.

Corey Williams read a screen play beautifully, slicing through a hole to undercut running back Toby Gerhart and intercept Favre’s pass. He rumbled 27 yards to the Vikings 12, setting up Hill’s TD pass to Tony Scheffler for a 7-0 lead.

The Lions only sacked Favre once, but they battered the 40-year-old throughout the game and had him grabbing his right shoulder in pain in the second quarter. But penalties nullified two turnovers by Favre — one a fumble on a sack and the other an interception — and led to 10 Minnesota points.

A fumble by Lions punt returner Stefan Logan set up the Vikings’ first touchdown, a play-action pass from Favre to Percy Harvin, who made an incredible diving catch in the end zone.

“We need to develop more of an instinct to finish. We started off 7-0 and then we turned the ball over on a punt and let them right back in the game,” Schwartz said. “That’s stuff that we need to do a better job of. When we get them down early, we need to put the foot to the floor and stretch out the lead rather than giving it back to them.”

Jason Hanson missed a 44-yard field goal and the Vikings took the lead for good with a 10-play drive that Peterson finished with a punishing 6-yard run. He flattened defensive back Jonathan Wade at the end of the run for a 14-7 lead.

“He never ceases to amaze you,” coach Brad Childress said.

Notes: A skirmish broke out in the third quarter, with Vikings DEs Ray Edwards and Jared Allen wrestling with several Lions offensive linemen. “All I can say about that is that I, we, are not going to be anybody’s punk out there,” Hill said. … Vikings C John Sullivan (calf) left after the first play of the game. Ryan Cook filled in well for him the rest of the way. TE Visanthe Shiancoe also had a leg injury, but Childress said he would be fine. … Williams spent his first four seasons in Green Bay playing with Favre. “It felt real good against a guy like that and a friend of mine like that,” he said of his interception. … The Vikings defense held the Lions to 63 yards rushing and 3 for 12 on third downs.