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Published September 16, 2007, 12:00 AM

Vikings look to extend run

Detroit stuck in 10-game drought
DETROIT – History suggests the Minnesota Vikings are going to beat the Detroit Lions.

DETROIT – History suggests the Minnesota Vikings are going to beat the Detroit Lions.

Minnesota has won 10 straight over Detroit, the NFL’s longest current streak and the best stretch over a divisional opponent since Dallas dominated Washington from 1997 to 2002.

The Lions have lost to a lot of other teams lately, too, losing a league-high 72 games the past six seasons. Winning the opener, as Detroit did last week for the fourth time in five years, also has failed to generate much momentum.

But the 36-21 win at Oakland provided another sign that these might not be the same-old Lions.

Detroit blew a 17-point lead against the Raiders and trailed with 7 minutes, 43 seconds left. Instead of dooming itself with a here-we-go-again mentality, the Rod Marinelli-led team closed strong and won.

It was the kind of game that led to many of Detroit’s 13 losses last season, including a 26-17 setback at Minnesota after starting the fourth quarter with a two-TD lead.

Beating Oakland in the way the Lions did might’ve helped them clear a mental hurdle.

“It was good for us. This team has to be able to bounce back from adversity within a football game,” said quarterback Jon Kitna, who said before the season that anything less than 10 wins would be a disappointment.

“We were able to put the game away in the fourth quarter and those are the kind of things, once you start to do it, they become a habit – one way or another,” he said. “Last year, the habit was a negative.”

Like Marinelli, Minnesota coach Brad Childress is in his second year in charge and is coming off a win.

The Vikings beat Atlanta 24-3, returning a pair of turnovers for TDs to give their defense an NFL-high seven scores in the past 14 games.

“Defense outscored the offense last week and they have quite a few times,” Childress acknowledged. “You’d have to say that we’re on their shoulders, but we coach them to score on defense. And, we’re still coaching them to score on offense contrary to popular belief.”

Adrian Peterson should help Minnesota get into the end zone more when it has the ball.

The rookie running back had a sensational debut, catching a short pass and turning it into a spectacular 60-yard TD and running for 103 yards. It made the Vikings even more thankful he was available to draft with the seventh pick overall.

“If you get him isolated on the right people, it’s got a chance to be a problem,” Childress said.

The Lions, who had the No. 2 pick in the draft, liked the power Peterson ran with at Oklahoma and were impressed by watching him display the same running style against the Falcons.

“He is a violent man,” Marinelli said. “That guy can go downhill as hard as I’ve seen.”