Or, more accurately, didn't cover them.
"It was slow-motion, especially today," Harvin said. "That hole opened up, and you probably could have walked through there. The blockers did a great job. They told me all week they were going to do everything they could to get me in the end zone. Special teams was huge today."
"It was obvious," Frazier said.
When Sherels scored, Detroit became the first team since at least 1940 to give up a kickoff and a punt return for touchdowns in consecutive games, according to STATS LLC. The Lions allowed scores on a kickoff and punt in last week's 44-41 loss in overtime at Tennessee.
"We're good, but we're garbage right now and we're killing our team," kicker Jason Hanson said.
"No, that's not a consideration," Schwartz said. "There's physical plays we have to make."
The surprising NFC North-leading Vikings (3-1) have already matched the number of wins of 2011, when they got off to an 0-4 start.
"That's a good mark of improvement," Ponder said.
Detroit (1-3) goes into its bye wondering what has gone wrong with a team that began 5-0 last season and ended with 10 victories to snap the franchise's 11-game postseason drought. The Lions have lost three straight - surpassing their longest skid last year - to turn cheers into jeers at Ford Field.
"We didn't start off the way we wanted to," Schwartz said. "That's not to say we can't get it back. That's s our challenge right now to dig our way out of this."
Beginning with special teams.
Harvin fielded the first kick toward the back left of the end zone, cut across the field, sprinted up the sideline and into the other end zone 12 seconds into the game.
"We always talk about starting fast, and that's the fastest start you can get," Ponder said.
Sherels took the punt in the middle of the field and made Kassim Osgood miss right away before wiggling through traffic and pulling away to put the Vikings ahead 20-6.
Ponder was 16 of 26 for 111 yards for Minnesota. Jerome Simpson had four receptions for a team-high 50 yards and drew a pair of penalties to help set up scores. Simpson missed the first three games serving a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Adrian Peterson had 102 yards rushing on 21 carries - running for more than 100 yards for the first time since Oct. 23, 2011 - and added more proof his surgically repaired left knee is just fine.
"It just seems like that was the Adrian that we were hoping to see," Frazier said.
"We got our butts kicked up front with sacks and we couldn't run the ball," Schwartz said. "Physically we have to be better."
Pettigrew dropped a potential TD pass one play after Calvin Johnson had the football jarred loose in the end zone, forcing Detroit to settle for a field goal and a 13-6 halftime deficit.
The Lions got right back down in scoring territory and Stafford scored on a 1-yard lunge with 2:56 left.
If Chicago can't beat Dallas on the road Monday night, the Vikings will be alone atop the NFC North going into Week 5.
"We want to embrace it," Frazier said. "It was one of our goals when the season began, to win the NFC North."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press