The Lions playoff hopes just took a major hit.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had 27 carries for 171 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that put the Lions out of reach in a 34-24 loss at Mall of America Field in Minneapolis.
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson had 12 catches for 207 yards and a late touchdown, but lost a fumble in the fourth quarter that led to a Vikings field goal.
The Lions (4-5) struggled mightily on offense in the first half and produced just 115 yards. They Lions trailed 13-3 at the break and failed to convert any of their first six third downs, finishing 1 of 9 for the game. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was just 12 of 20 for 97 yards and an interception through two quarters.
The Lions offense finally woke up toward the end of the third quarter and scored their first touchdown on a four-play, 86-yard drive. A 50-yard pass to Johnson put them in the red zone, and Stafford hit tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a 16-yard touchdown two plays later to cut the lead to 16-10 with 2:55 left in the third quarter.
But just when the offense came alive, the Lions defense allowed an easy scoring drive, capped by a 20-yard touchdown catch by Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. Peterson ran in the two-point conversion to give Minnesota a 24-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Lions answered with a one-yard touchdown pass to Titus Young, but Peterson scored his long touchdown run on the next drive to make it 31-17 with just 8:06 left.
The Vikings added a field goal with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter after recovering Johnson’s fumble to make it 34-17. Johnson caught an 11-yard touchdown pass to make it 34-24, but there was only 1:53 remaining.
Stafford finished 28 of 42 for 329 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was 24 of 32 for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
The Lions remain in last place in the NFC North and were swept by the Vikings this season. The loss could sting more as Minnesota (6-4) will be one of its top competitors in the wild card race.
Lions cornerback Chris Houston left the game with an ankle injury, and defensive end Cliff Avril left with a concussion.