DETROIT – Brad Johnson threw two touchdowns, Michael Bennett scored twice and the Vikings held on to beat the Lions 21-16 Sunday.

Minnesota (7-5) has won five straight, salvaging their season after a bad start and the now infamous boat party.

Detroit (4-8) has lost five of six and didn’t seem to be sparked by Dick Jauron in his debut as interim coach.

The Vikings appeared to be in control leading by 15 early in the third quarter, but the Lions rallied as Artose Pinner scored on a 6-yard run to make it 21-16 with 7:38 left.

Cornerback Brian Williams had an interception return for a score negated by a penalty.

The Lions got the ball back at their 7 with 2:46 left after Paul Edinger – playing in place of injured punter Chris Kluwe – made a low, bouncing kick.

Detroit drove to midfield before Jeff Garcia’s up-for-grabs heave was intercepted by leaping safety Corey Chavous at Minnesota’s 2 with 52 seconds left.

The Lions led once – briefly. After Jason Hanson kicked a field goal on the opening drive, Johnson needed only one play to put the Vikings ahead with an 80-yard pass to Koren Robinson.

Johnson, who was 17-for-23 for a season-high 256 yards, is undefeated since starting in place of the injured Daunte Culpepper.

Bennett had 79 yards rushing and a 7-yard TD, and caught a 5-yard TD to give the Vikings a 21-6 lead in the third quarter. Robinson caught four passes for 148 yards, surpassing his previous season total, and a TD.

The loudest cheers at Ford Field came when a fan held a “Fire Millen” sign behind Minnesota’s bench in the third quarter.

Security scurried to take the sign away and more messages like it, but “Fire Mil-len!” chants could not be stopped. One fan amused the crowd and made it roar as he ran from section to section, dodging security, holding up an anti-Millen sign.

The Lions are an NFL-worst 20-56 since team president Matt Millen took over the franchise in 2001.

Garcia, who was cheered as Joey Harrington’s backup, was booed regularly as Jauron’s-picked starter. Garcia finished 17 of 35 for 126 yards and an interception.

Detroit got off to a solid start offensively and closed with some punch, but couldn’t do much in between.

The Lions converted three third downs on the opening drive, setting up Hanson’s 45-yard field goal.

On the next play, Johnson lofted a perfect pass to Robinson, who simply ran past cornerback R.W. McQuarters for an 80-yard TD. It was Minnesota’s longest play of the year, and was Johnson’s longest pass since 1996.

When Garcia threw a pass at Roy Williams’ feet on the ensuing possession, the crowd chanted “Jo-ey! Jo-ey!” in a humorous moment because those same fans have jeered Harrington throughout his career.

Johnson’s 45-yard pass to Robinson set up Bennett’s 7-yard TD run early in the second quarter. Hanson’s 26-yard kick made it 14-6 with late in the first half.

AP-ES-12-04-05 1631EST


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