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Vikings vs. Lions 2012 reaction: Special teams and defense lead Minnesota to 3-1

The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions Sunday, 20-13, to move to 3-1 and stay atop the NFC North.

The Vikings offense struggled, being unable to find the endzone all game, but the special teams and defense answered the call to carry Minnesota to victory. The special teams proved game-changing, with kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns, accounting for 14 points in all.

Christopher Gates of SB Nation's Minnesota Vikings blog, The Daily Norseman, writes that regardless of how the offense played, the Vikings have given fans a lot to be excited about through four weeks.

On Sunday afternoon at Ford Field, the Minnesota Vikings didn't put up a single offensive touchdown... Yet when the dust settled and the smoke cleared, the Minnesota Vikings left Ford Field with a 3-1 record and sole possession of first place in the NFC North for the first time since the final day of the 2009 regular season. That's January 3, 2010, if you're scoring at home. And why is that the case? Because, when the offense was down, the other two phases of the game picked them up and carried them to a team victory.

The Vikings take their 3-1 record into a home game next week against the Tennessee Titans.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.