The Lions were hoping to get back on the happy side of .500 with a win over the Vikings on Sunday, but it was not meant to be.
Minnesota won 34-24 to improve to 6-4 and bolster their playoff chances, a result that the Lions feel they tried to get by intentionally trying to injure Detroit players. Cornerback Chris Houston accused the Vikings of trying to hurt his ankle during a 61-yard Adrian Peterson touchdown run.
“Lineman just fell on my ankle on purpose. I went to cut him, and as he went down, he put both knees on my ankle on purpose. It’s part of the game,” Houston said, via Anwar Richardson of MLive.com. “I was on the ground, so I didn’t get to see who it was, but as he pulled, I cut him, he was flying over the top of me, and you could feel him land on my ankle on purpose.”
Houston said after the game that his ankle was fine. That wasn’t the only instance in the game where the Lions felt the Vikings might have crossed the line. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who suffered an injury that the team maintains was not a concussion thanks to a hit to the head in the first meeting between the teams this year, took a couple of hits to the head during the game and quarterback Matthew Stafford was not fond of their approach.
“Obviously, you never like to see anybody get hit in the head,” Stafford said, also via MLive.com. “It’s a part of our game that they’re trying to get rid of. I think it’s a good thing. Calvin’s a tough guy. He stayed in there and made some great plays for us. Obviously, had a great game, but there’s not a whole lot of place for that in this league.”
Johnson said he didn’t feel like the Vikings were targeting his head during the game and said that his late fumble was not a result of the hits or any lingering issues from the earlier injury. It was just a fumble, according to Johnson, and it is one of the reasons why a return trip to the playoff looks a lot less likely for the Lions.