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(Sunday, December 29th)
Final Score: Minnesota 14, Detroit 13
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Cordarrelle Patterson scored both of Minnesota's touchdowns, as the Vikings took a 14-13 win over the Detroit Lions in their final game ever in the Metrodome.
It was a disappointing season for Minnesota (5-10-1) as the team followed a surprising playoff appearance in 2012 by missing the playoffs for a third time in the past four seasons. The team started out with losses in seven of its first eight games to open the year.
The poor season has put Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier on the hot seat, as his team is 21-32-1 during his three-plus seasons with the team.
"I don't get concerned about reports about my job," said Frazier. "I can't control reports about my job. But I can control the way my team goes out and play and I thought they did a great job."
Minnesota will be moving to the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium for the next two seasons as its new home is being built. The team posted an overall record of 168-92, including regular season and playoff games, at the Metrodome during its run there.
"Great way to close out the Metrodome and I'm so proud of the ways the players battled today," said Frazier. "Give our players credit, they focused on what we needed to do today."
Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz has also been the subject of job security rumors, as the Lions (7-9) have had consecutive poor seasons after making the playoffs in 2011 for the first time since 1999.
"I know the way this business is, we all do," said Schwartz. "But we can't worry about decisions we don't make and all that we can try to do week-in and week-out is work as hard as we can. I certainly would like to be back because I think we have some unfinished business here."
Detroit was in first place in the NFC North for much of the season, and held a mark of 6-3 after a win at Chicago on Nov. 10. However, the team went on to drop six of its final seven games, getting knocked out from postseason contention with a 23-20 loss to the Giants in Detroit last Sunday.
Matt Cassel went 20-of-33 for 189 yards with one touchdown and one interception for the Vikings, who went 5-3 at home this season.
Matthew Stafford was 22-for-33 for 217 yards and a touchdown for the Lions, who went 3-5 as the guests this season.
The game was played without two of the biggest offensive weapons in the NFL as Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee/ankle) and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson (groin/foot) both sat out the game.
Trailing by six points, Minnesota got a 50-yard punt return from Marcus Sherels down to the Detroit 8. Two plays later, Cassel hit Patterson in the left side of the end zone for a 14-13 lead with 9:19 to play.
Detroit crossed midfield on its next possession, but a Stafford pass fell incomplete on 3rd-and-12 at the Minnesota 41 and the team had to punt the ball back to Minnesota with 4:53 to play.
The Vikings were able to get three first downs, the final one a 39-yard run from Matt Asiata that took the clock to the two-minute warning, and with Detroit having no timeouts left, the final three plays at the Metrodome saw Cassel go into the victory formation.
The offenses had trouble generating any production through the first quarter, but the Vikings used a big play to get on the board.
On their third touch of the game, the Vikings faced a first down at midfield and went with a pitchout to the left for Patterson. He cut back to the right, broke a tackle, then ran through the middle and into the end zone down the left end for a 7-0 lead with 2:41 left in the first quarter.
Starting the second quarter with the ball, Minnesota drove down to the Lions 2-yard line. On third down, though, Cassel had his pass picked off by Louis Delmas in the end zone.
Minnesota held Detroit to a three-and-out and got down to the Lions 39, but punted on 4th-and-6 and the game eventually went into the break with Minnesota still holding a 7-0 lead.
Detroit started the second half with the ball and crossed midfield for the first time in the game thanks in part to a 20-yard catch from Nate Burleson. Another 24-yard catch from Burleson helped to set up a short pass out to the right for Reggie Bush, who broke a tackle and raced into the end zone on a 19- yard score to tie the game 4 1/2 minutes into the third quarter.
The Lions' next possession saw the team forced into a 52-yard field goal try from David Akers, which he missed. An offside call on Minnesota, though, gave the Lions a fresh set of downs and that eventually led to a 25-yard field goal from Akers for a 10-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
An Asiata fumble was recovered by Detroit, which led to Akers matching his season-high with a 53-yard field goal for a 13-7 lead just over two minutes into the final quarter.
Bush and Joique Bell became the first teammates in NFL history to go over 500 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. Also, Bush became the first 1,000-yard rusher for Detroit since Kevin Jones in 2004 ... Minnesota won 24 of the 31 games against Detroit that were played in the Metrodome ... Minnesota gained 345 yards, compared to 245 yards for Detroit ... Asiata totaled 115 yards on 14 carries.
12/29 18:05:25 ET
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