Jerry Burns had his hook ready, but stuck with Wade Wilson.
Wilson went on to complete 14 straight passes in the second half and finish with a career-high 391 passing yards Sunday, leading the Minnesota Vikings to a 44-17 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Burns nearly pulled Wilson when Detroit linebacker George Jamison tipped a pass by Wilson, intercepted it and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown that pulled the Lions to within 13-10 with 2:40 left in the first half.
“I was more concerned with his mental approach, because of the tip, because of what happened just prior to the half,” Burns said. “It ran through my mind (to put Tommy Kramer in the game). At halftime, I was a little concerned.”
The Vikings took the ensuing kickoff and tried to get into position for at least a field goal. But Wilson threw a pass that offensive coordinator Bob Schnelker didn’t like and the pair got into a shouting match.
Then Wilson took a sack that put the Vikings out of field-goal range.
“That whole 2-minute drill was not very good,” Wilson said. “Bob and I got into a screaming match because he wanted me to throw an out pattern on a play that I didn’t. Then I should have gotten rid of the ball instead of taking the sack.
“I don’t know whether Burnsie thinks the tip rattled me or the 2-minute drill rattled me or the shouting match with Bob rattled me. I’m glad he had the confidence to stay with me. Thirteen-10 against Detroit is not where we wanted to be at halftime.”
In the second half, 2 touchdowns the Vikings didn’t score got them excited. On the same series, they thought Alfred Anderson and Allen Rice reached the end zone but both were ruled short by the officials and Minnesota had to settle for an 18-yard field goal.
“That really fired the team up,” Wilson said. “It was like it was us against the Lions and the officials.”
Wilson’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Steve Jordan in the third quarter put the Vikings ahead, 20-10, but Detroit’s Rusty Hilger came back with an 8-yard scoring pass to Pete Mandley. Minnesota took a 23-17 lead on Chuck Nelson’s 18-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
Even though the Vikings outgained Detroit, 553 yards to 89, they didn’t put it away until the fourth quarter on Rick Fenney’s 20-yard run, Wilson’s 10-yard pass to Jim Gustafson and Rice’s second 3-yard scoring run.
Anthony Carter caught 8 passes for 188 yards. A 32-yard Wilson-to-Carter connection set up Rice’s first touchdown and a 40-yarder preceded a score by Anderson.