DETROIT (AP) The Minnesota Vikings stayed in the playoff picture with an unlikely boost from a player haunting his former team.
Artose Pinner had career highs with 125 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns Sunday to lift Minnesota to a 30-20 win over the Detroit Lions.
Despite losing five of the previous six games and being under .500, the Vikings (6-7) still have a shot at playing in January.
The Lions (2-11), meanwhile, have lost five straight and the only consolation for the hapless franchise is it can't break the record for the most losses in a six-season span. Detroit, an NFL-worst 23-70 since 2001, would fall one setback short of the 74 losses Tampa Bay had from 1983-88 if its closes the season without a win.
One home game after Miami's Joey Harrington threw 3 TDs in a win against Detroit, which drafted him third overall in 2002, another former Lion had a big day at Ford Field.
Pinner, who was among the final cuts Detroit made before the season, played in place of injured Chester Taylor (ribs) and ahead of other backups that were expected to play a larger role.
He ran for TDs on Minnesota's first two drives to double his previous career high in scoring. By the middle of the 2nd quarter, he surpassed his previous career high of 68 yards rushing set in 2004, a year after Detroit drafted him in the fourth round.
Pinner's best game this season was 29 yards rushing at San Francisco, a performance that was followed by one without a carry and three inactive games.