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Lunch Break, 9/21: Vikings Run Defense Improves, Stops Lions

After allowing a league-high 230 rushing yards to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, the Vikings defense tightened up at home against the Lions allowing only 38 yards in the 26-16 victory.

Mark Craig of the Star Tribune writes about the improvement against the run:

Six days after the 49ers crushed the Vikings for 230 yards on 39 carries (5.9), the Vikings smashed the Lions, who ran for only 38 yards on 16 carries (2.4). The leading rusher: Quarterback Matthew Stafford (20 yards).

*"We did everything we wanted to do [Sunday]," said Brian Robison, who had a five-yard tackle for loss to the Detroit 9-yard line on the Lions' second carry of the third quarter. "We stopped the run and got after the quarterback. When you do those two things, I'd say nine times out of 10 you're going to be able to win some ballgames."


A week after the 49ers opened with consecutive runs of 9, 8, 8 and 8 yards, the Vikings stuffed rookie running back Ameer Abdullah, the league's all-purpose yardage leader in Week 1, for no gain on Detroit's first carry. Two snaps later, on second-and-three from the Detroit 46, 229-pound back Joique Bell was dropped for no gain by tackles Linval Joseph and Floyd.

"It was a hand back to the middle," Floyd said. "We just read our keys, got low and played a physical game. That set the tone. And the next series, we went out and did it again."

On the next series, Joseph and Robison dropped Bell for a two-yard loss on second-and-three. Eventually, the Lions pretty much gave up on the run altogether. They had five yards rushing after a quarter and 14 yards on eight carries while trailing 17-10 at the half.

"Obviously," free safety Harrison Smith said, "that felt good after last week."

Zimmer expressed his pleasure with how his team bounced back from Monday night's loss and will get the chance to build on the division win when the Chargers visit the Vikings next Sunday.

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