Vikings Keep It Simple Against Lions, 17-7 : NFC: Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware makes first start at quarterback for Detroit, but is lifted in the second quarter.
The Minnesota Vikings kept things simple Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
“We were just so concerned with their offense,” Viking quarterback Rich Gannon said. “We wanted to control the ball and keep the defense off the field.”
The Vikings did just that in a 17-7 victory that spoiled Andre Ware’s debut as the Lions’ starting quarterback.
Ware, the 1989 Heisman Trophy winner from Houston, was replaced by Bob Gagliano in the second quarter after he had two passes intercepted.
The Vikings (3-6) have won their last two games while the Lions (3-6) have lost their last two.
“Our goal is to win six out of six or seven of seven,” Viking Coach Jerry Burns said. “I wouldn’t bet against this club.”
The Vikings had only a 270-237 edge in total net yards, but they ran 63 offensive plays to 45 for the Lions.
All three Minnesota scores came after turnovers. The Vikings picked off four passes and recovered one fumble.
Gannon completed 12 of 17 passes for 146 yards and also scored on a one-yard run in the second quarter.
Ware, the seventh player taken in the 1990 NFL draft, started in place of Rodney Peete, who had a pulled hamstring and was not in uniform.
Ware completed five of 11 passes for 48 yards and ran six times for 34 yards.
The Lions’ first two possessions ended when Ware threw interceptions, and Bob Gagliano started the second half.
“You can only learn so much standing on the sidelines,” Ware said. “You have to be in the ballgame, take your hits and get back up ready to compete.
“You wonder sometimes if the rookie situation is blown out of proportion. A football player is a football player. After the two interceptions, I guess there was some concern that I was rattled. But I wasn’t rattled.”
Gagliano completed eight of 13 passes for 84 yards and connected with Jeff Campbell on an 18-yard touchdown pass play. He also had two passes intercepted.
Al Noga returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown and Fuad Reveiz kicked a 27-yard field goal for the Vikings.
Herschel Walker started for the Vikings and gained 45 yards in 12 carries. He also caught one pass for 20 yards.
Michael Brim set up the game’s first score, intercepting a pass by Ware and returning it 11 yards to the Lions’ 49. Thirteen plays later, on fourth-and-goal, Gannon rolled right and scored with 9:02 left in the first half.
“Andre Ware’s an NFL quarterback,” said Viking safety Joey Browner, who intercepted two passes. “He may be a rookie, but he can go out there and win the game.
“The scheme we used defensively, he just wasn’t able to figure out.”