MINNEAPOLIS -- A close, competitive regular-season finale gave the Detroit Lions a glimmer of hope for the playoffs.
It made Randy Moss mad.
''As far as the momentum and the desire and being hungry to go out there and fight for a championship, I don't think we're there yet,'' Moss said after the Minnesota Vikings beat the Lions 24-17 Sunday for their eighth victory in 10 games since quarterback Jeff George replaced Randall Cunningham.
''The hell with eight games out of 10. We should be 16-0.''
The Vikings (10-6) have less than a week to find that fire. They face Dallas (8-8) in a wild-card game Sunday at the Metrodome.
''Our goal's the Super Bowl. If we don't get there, we'll just be a big disappointment for the second year in a row,'' Moss said after the Vikings' sent playoff-bound Detroit (8-8) to its fourth straight loss.
Moss, who caught five passes for 151 yards and a touchdown, did say the Vikings are more focused than last season, when they went 15-1 and had homefield advantage only to lose to upstart Atlanta in the NFC title game.
He said players looked past the Falcons and were talking about the Miami nightlife a year ago.
''Now, we're just talking about, 'Let's get to the Super Bowl.' We're not talking about if we're going to party, we're going to do this, we're going to do that. We're just talking about ... let's win the NFC,'' Moss said.
The Vikings' road will be a long one. Unlike last season, they didn't earn a first-round bye.
The Vikings and the Lions already had clinched playoff spots coming in, but Minnesota failed to repeat as NFC Central champion because Tampa Bay won 20-6 at Chicago. A Buccaneers loss would have given Minnesota a first-round bye and the NFC's second seed behind St. Louis.
The Lions will face Washington on Saturday, but they might not have quarterback Charlie Batch, who reinjured his broken right thumb and was replaced by Gus Frerotte.
''I couldn't believe it,'' said Batch, who was 17-for-24 for 161 yards and a touchdown before he hit center Eric Beverly's helmet on a follow through.
X-rays were negative, although Batch won't be able to practice until the swelling subsides. He was making his second start since fracturing his right thumb Nov. 7.
''There's no further damage to it,'' Lions coach Bobby Ross said. ''But it's really puffed up big.''
Frerotte was intercepted by Robert Tate near the goal line on his second throw in place of Batch, behind whom the Lions converted eight of nine third-down chances.
But Tate and Randy Moss kept Detroit's dreams of an upset -- and a first-round home playoff game against Minnesota -- in check.
Tate had kickoff returns of 37 and 47 yards in addition to his touchdown-saving interception. And Moss had four catches for 147 yards and a touchdown in the first half, as the Vikings scraped together a 17-10 lead.
After Leroy Hoard's 3-yard TD run made it 24-10 with five minutes left, Johnnie Morton's second touchdown catch, a 36-yarder from Frerotte, pulled Detroit to 24-17 with 2:16 left. But the Lions didn't try an onside kick, and Robert Smith (97 yards on 22 carries) and the Vikings ran out the clock.
Morton said the Lions finally showed some spark.
''Win or lose, this team showed intensity,'' he said. ''They played with a chip on their shoulder. That's something you take with you into the playoffs.''
Lions safety Mark Carrier said the up-and-down season no longer mattered.
''We faltered at the end,'' Carrier said. ''But we did the right things to win games to put us in the situation to be in the playoffs. So, we're there. That's what you reflect on.''
Notes: Vikings middle linebacker Ed McDaniel sprained his right knee and will undergo an MRI exam today. Special teams ace John Henry Mills ruptured his right biceps. ... Detroit's Desmond Howard (muscle spasms) didn't play after the first quarter. ... The Vikings drew a team-record 513,051, besting last year's attendance of 510,741. ... Chris Doleman's 1 1/2 sacks gave him 151, making him the fourth player to surpass 150 career sacks since the league began keeping track in 1982. ''I'd give up all 150 just to win one Super Bowl,'' Doleman said.
Detroit 7 3 0 7--17
Minnesota 7 10 0 7--24
Min--Smith 4 run (Anderson kick), 9:12.
Det--Morton 6 pass from Batch (Hanson kick), :55. Second Quarter
Min--FG Anderson 44, 12:53.
Det--FG Hanson 39, 7:12.
Min--Moss 67 pass from George (Anderson kick), 5:44.
Min--Hoard 3 run (Anderson kick), 4:56.
Det--Morton 36 pass from Frerotte (Hanson kick), 2:16.
First downs 20 20
Rushes-yards 14-16 30-137
Passing 286 242
Punt Returns 1-9 2-(-6)
Kickoff Returns 5-115 4-104
Interceptions Ret. 2-22 1-18
Comp-Att-Int 31-46-1 14-24-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 7-55 5-33
Punts 4-43.8 1-41.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 4-47 7-45
Time ofPossession 30:42 29:18
RUSHING--Detroit, Schlesinger 3-10, Rivers 11-6. Minnesota, R.Smith 22-97, Hoard 7-41, George 1-(minus 1).
PASSING--Detroit, Batch 17-24-0-161, Frerotte 14-22-1-180. Minnesota, George 14-24-2-275.
RECEIVING--Detroit, Morton 10-128, Crowell 8-120, Rivers 4-8, Sloan 3-40, Moore 2-16, Schlesinger 2-10, Stablein 1-12, Irvin 1-7. Minnesota, Moss 5-155, Carter 3-52, Jordan 2-13, Glover 1-23, Reed 1-13, R.Smith 1-13, Hoard 1-6.
MISSED FIELD GOALS--Detroit, Hanson 58 (SH). Minnesota, Anderson 52 (SH).
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