Vikings leave Metrodome with victory over Lions

As the Minnesota Vikings filed into their locker room at the

Metrodome for the last time, Leslie Frazier was there to greet them

with a handshake and a hug.

The Vikings picked up one more victory at the

soon-to-be-demolished stadium, perhaps a parting gift for the

popular coach.

Fittingly, the Detroit Lions left on the losing end.

Cordarrelle Patterson scored two touchdowns, including the

go-ahead catch in the end zone in the fourth quarter, and the

Vikings beat the Lions 14-13 on Sunday afternoon in the final game

of the Metrodome’s 32 seasons.

From Patterson to Adrian Peterson, player after player

passionately voiced their support for Frazier, whose record over

three-plus years is 21-33-1. Peterson promised to make his plea

directly to the owners on Monday. Frazier urged the front office to

bring him and his staff back.

”I just have a lot of belief in my abilities as a coach and

have a lot of belief in the guys on our team and a lot of belief in

our staff, and for that reason you don’t have to walk in fear,”

Frazier said, flashing a brief smile. ”You just know that things

are going to work out.”

Owner Zygi Wilf declined to comment about a decision on Frazier,

who has one season left on his contract. General manager Rick

Spielman was mum, too.

The Lions held Calvin Johnson out because of a nagging knee

injury. Matthew Stafford stopped his turnover streak and completed

22 of 33 passes for 217 yards and a third-quarter touchdown pass to

Bush, but the Lions finished 7-24 at this stadium, which was

inflated in 1982. They finished the year with six losses in their

last seven games despite holding a fourth-quarter lead in all of

them, putting coach Jim Schwartz on the metaphorical hot seat,

too.

”It’s definitely been very rocky, and it’s not been easy to

deal with,” said running back Reggie Bush. ”It’s been an

emotional roller coaster, going from being in first place to where

we are now, that’s not how you want to end the season.”

Schwartz fell to 29-52 over five full years. Both he and Frazier

have made the playoffs once.

”We can’t worry about decisions we don’t make,” Schwartz said,

adding: ”I’d certainly like to be back. I think we have unfinished

business here. We’ve come a long way in these years, but we still

have some ground that we can make and I’m anxious to have a chance

to do that.”

There will be no more business in this building, which will be

torn down next month to make room for a new domed venue on the same

site. The Vikings will play outside the next two seasons at the

University of Minnesota’s facility.

”I love the stadium. But when you see the pictures of the new

one, you’re anxious and excited to get into the new one,” said

Peterson, who was held out due to a sprained foot. He set the NFL’s

all-time single-game rushing record here in 2007 with 296

yards.

Third-stringer Matt Asiata filled in with 14 carries for 115

yards. Jared Allen had two sacks to pass the double-digit mark for

the seventh straight season. Cassel had the winning touchdown

throw. He was the quarterback at the end of all five Vikings

victories this year, two in injury relief of Christian Ponder. The

Vikings also narrowly avoided setting a franchise record for most

points allowed, leaving the 1984 team still holding that dubious

mark.

This still might not have been enough to save Frazier’s job,

however.

”I enjoyed playing for Leslie. He came in each and every day

with a demeanor to try to get this team ready to play, and I

respect that about him and how he went about his business. There

never was anybody, especially in his case, hanging his head when

things didn’t go our way,” Cassel said.

Patterson wasn’t ready for the opening kickoff, slapping the

goalpost and trying to fire up fans behind him when the ball sailed

in the end zone. Chase Ford caught it for a touchback. Patterson

quickly refocused, though.

Late in the first quarter, he took a pitch in the backfield,

immediately reversed course and ran right toward the sideline. He

slipped between Ndamukong Suh and Devin Taylor, then snaked his way

through the rest of the defense for a 50-yard gain, the longest

rushing play in Vikings history by a wide receiver.

NOTES: Patterson finished his rookie year with nine TDs,

including six in the last five games. … Bush and fellow RB Joique

Bell each finished with 500-plus yards receiving. They combined for

2,709 yards and 15 TDs.

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

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