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Vikings Get an Early Present

Vikings 28, Lions 27

By Larry Lage
Associated Press
Monday, December 20, 2004; Page D09

DETROIT, Dec. 19 -- Minnesota took a big step toward its first playoff berth in four years on Sunday -- barely and with some late help from Detroit.

The Lions botched an extra point attempt with eight seconds left that would have tied the game, allowing the Vikings to seal a 28-27 win.


A bad snap to the Lions' Nick Harris botched a game-tying extra-point try in the final seconds. (Paul Sancya -- AP)

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Detroit went 80 yards in 1 minute 29 seconds to pull within a point on Joey Harrington's second touchdown pass to Roy Williams. Then, Don Muhlbach's snap bounced to holder Nick Harris, who was tackled before he could get the football spotted for place kicker Jason Hanson.

"No one ever knows you until you mess up," Muhlbach said.

Despite losing five of its previous seven games, Minnesota can win the NFC North with a victory Friday at home over Green Bay and at Washington on Jan. 2.

In the awful NFC, Minnesota (8-6) could even be a wild-card team without another win.

"It's just another step, another piece of the puzzle," Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper said.

The Lions (5-9) likely fell out of the postseason race with their seventh loss in eight games.

Culpepper, who was 25 of 35 for 404 yards, threw three touchdown passes, and Moe Williams scored the go-ahead touchdown on an 11-yard run with 1:37 left.


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