Defensive breakdown: The Vikings gave up 400 yards or more in four of their final five regular-season games last season, but in three of those games, the Vikings were leading in the fourth quarter and teams were trying to rally. On Sunday, however, there was a different issue. The Vikings allowed 201 yards in the first half, permitted the Lions to hold the ball for more than 20 minutes and wound up giving up 469 yards for the game -- more than they allowed at any point last year. It was obvious that they were missing defensive tackle Kevin Williams, and they didn't seem to know exactly how to defend all the ways the Lions were using Reggie Bush. But missed tackles were an issue (Bush gained a career-high 104 yards after the catch), and the Vikings will see a running back who can burn them in multiple ways again next week, when they face the Bears and Matt Forte. Williams should play on Sunday, though, and it was obvious against the Lions how much the Vikings need him.
No pressure for Stafford: As deep and as talented as the Vikings' defensive line can be, it didn't do much to rattle Matthew Stafford. Stafford was pressured on only four drop-backs, and Jared Allen's fourth-quarter sack was the only one the Vikings got. Williams can help here, as well, but rookie Sharrif Floyd didn't get much of an interior push, and the only heat from Brian Robison and Everson Griffen came on a couple of plays late in the game after Stafford had released the ball. The Vikings have typically had plenty of success pressuring Jay Cutler, but the Lions' offensive line is far from settled, too, and the Vikings missed an opportunity to get Stafford off his game. That was a big part of how the defensive line covered for a young secondary last year. The Vikings couldn't do it on Sunday.
Where is Patterson? Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson looked ahead of the curve during the preseason, but in his first real game, the first-round pick was virtually invisible. He played just five offensive snaps -- one fewer than converted QB Joe Webb -- and with Sam Martin booming five kickoffs into the end zone, Patterson got to return only two. He caught the only pass Christian Ponder threw to him for a 10-yard gain, but for as much as the Vikings praised Patterson's game-breaking potential, they didn't give him much chance to show it against Detroit.
Simpson breaks out: After a disappointing first year with the Vikings, receiver Jerome Simpson had one of the best games of his career on Sunday, catching seven passes for 140 yards, including a diving catch on a 47-yard pass directly over his head. "That's the type of catches that I make," he said. "Those are them Jerome Simpson catches." He had trouble getting separation thanks to a mysterious back injury last year, but if Simpson is healthy, he'd give the Vikings a much-needed deep threat. That was particularly important on a day in which the team didn't use Patterson, and Ponder connected with Greg Jennings on only three of the seven passes he targeted toward him.