Stafford needed 87 yards entering the matchup against the Vikings to eclipse the mark, which he accomplished in the 147th game of his career. He bested former record-holder and Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Matt Ryan, who passed the 40,000-yard plateau in 151 games.
Stafford reached the mark with a 36-yard completion to wide receiver Danny Amendola in the first quarter against the Vikings. After that reception, he had 40,010 career passing yards.
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft became only the sixth quarterback to reach 40,000 yards in under 160 career games, joining Drew Brees, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Ryan. He is the only quarterback to accomplish the feat in under 150 contests.
The Vikings beat the Lions 42-30 on Sunday despite Stafford's standout performance. The gunslinger completed 30-of-45 passes for 364 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
The Lions will host the New York Giants next Sunday at Ford Field.