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Throwin' it Back to '98: Vikings Rally in 3rd Quarter Downs Lions


This season, the Vikings are commemorating the 20thanniversary of the 1998 team.

Minnesota went 15-1 during the 1998 regular season, during which it set a then-NFL scoring record with 556 points. Randy Moss came on the scene and caught 17 touchdown passes, the most-ever by a rookie. He combined with Cris Carter and Jake Reed to form "Three Deep."

For each week of the 2018 regular season, we'll throw it back to 1998 and take a look at each of the Vikings 16 games.

We'll continue this series with Minnesota's Week 8 game at Detroit, where 24 unanswered points in the second half erased a three-point Lions lead at halftime, and improved the Vikings record to 7-0.

Click**here**for the first recap in this series (Week 1 vs. Tampa Bay).

Click**here**for the second recap in this series (Week 2 at St. Louis).

Click**here**for the third recap in this series (Week 3 vs. Detroit).

Click**here**for the fourth recap in this series (Week 4 at Chicago).

Click**here**for the fifth recap in this series (Week 5 at Green Bay).

Click**here**for the sixth recap in this series (bye week).

Click**here**for the seventh recap in this series (Week 7 vs. Washington).

Vikings 34, Lions 13

Weather: None (dome) | Temp: 69 degrees Fahrenheit

Paid Attendance: 77,885 | Time of game: Noon (CT)

MIN 0 10 17 7 | 34

DET 3 10 0 0 | 13

The Vikings trailed at halftime for just the second time during the 1998 season but didn't fret.

A 17-point rally occurred in under six minutes of game time during the third quarter.

The scoring spree began with a 44-yard field goal by Gary Anderson, continued with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Randall Cunningham to Cris Carter and ended with a 57-yard touchdown run by Robert Smith.

Where was Randy Moss in all of this?

After Anderson tied the game at 13, Moss drew a 59-yard pass interference penalty against Bryant Westbrook that advanced the ball from the Minnesota 36 to the Detroit 5 on a third-and-15 play. A pair of incompletions bookended a false start, and Cunningham connected with Carter.

The Lions couldn't answer and quickly punted.

Minnesota converted a third-and-7 with a pass from Cunningham to David Palmer for a gain of 10 and was awarded another 15 yards after an unnecessary roughness call on Robert Porcher.

Smith's scurry occurred on the ensuing snap for a 27-13 lead with 1:38 remaining in the third quarter.

Jimmy Hitchcock provided the only score in the fourth quarter when he jumped a hitch route by Herman Moore and took the pass from Charlie Batch 79 yards for a touchdown. It was Hitchcock's third of seven interceptions on the season and first of three that he returned for a touchdown.

Detroit had seven possessions in the second half. Six ended with punts, and the other was halted by Hitchcock's interception.

The Lions outgained the Vikings 351 to 329 but were penalized 14 times for 169 yards.

After rushing 14 times for 88 yards in the first half, Barry Sanders had 10 carries for 39 yards in the second half.

John Randle recorded 2.0 sacks, and Stalin Colinet had 1.0. Ed McDaniel and Jason Fisk combined on another takedown of Batch.

Headline: Cruise Control (Star Tribune | Oct. 26, 1998)


"We don't ever panic when we're down, and we don't get too high when we're up. We just continually go out and play, and we believe that any point during a game we can put points up or we can stop them. That's the faith we have in this team." — Quarterback Randall Cunningham

"As a defensive player, I can say that usually there's one thing that you have to give up. You have to make a decision as a defense that if you want to stop one thing, you might be a little weaker in defending something else. That's just the way it is. But if you do that with our offense, you're in trouble because we have so many different weapons, you're going to pay somewhere." — Safety Robert Griffith

Play of the Game

Smith's 57-yard touchdown run broke open the game and was part of a 134-yard day. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry on 19 rushes.