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Early Look: Vikings at Lions

Posted Nov 20, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings are on a short week and have a crucial NFC North matchup on the horizon. 

Minnesota travels to Detroit this week for a Thanksgiving Day meeting with the Lions that kicks off at 11:30 a.m. (CT).

The Vikings improved to 8-2 on the season with an impressive 24-7 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Minnesota has won six straight games.

Detroit snuck by Chicago with a 27-24 win Sunday as the Lions picked up their third straight win. Detroit is 6-4 on the season.

Here’s an early look at Sunday’s game:

Passing: Vikings quarterback Case Keenum completed 27 of 38 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown against the Rams. He had a passer rating of 100.8 on Sunday.

Keenum is 6-2 as a starter this season. Keenum has thrown for 2,194 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns against Chicago. Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, has thrown for 2,760 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2017.

Rushing: Latavius Murray led the way on the ground Sunday, rushing for 95 yards and two scores on 15 carries. Jerick McKinnon added 48 yards on 14 carries. 

Murray leads the Vikings with 412 yards and four touchdowns this season. McKinnon has 367 yards and three touchdowns.

The Vikings rushed for 171 total yards Sunday, and rank eighth in the NFL with 123.3 rushing yards per game.

Detroit ran for 65 yards on 24 carries against the Bears. Theo Riddick had 35 yards on nine carries, and Ameer Abdullah had 22 yards on 11 carries. Abdullah leads Detroit with 491 rushing yards and three scores on 144 attempts.

Receiving: Adam Thielen continued his stellar season with a strong performance against the Rams in which he caught six passes for 123 yards and a score.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph had five receptions for 58 yards, and Stefon Diggs had four catches for 32 yards. The Vikings had nine different players catch at least one pass.

Thielen leads the Vikings with 62 receptions for 916 yards and has three touchdown catches. He ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards and is tied for fifth in receptions.

Diggs leads the Vikings with five touchdown catches, while Rudolph has three scores.

Detroit’s Marvin Jones had four catches for 85 yards and a touchdown Sunday, and T.J. Jones caught four passes for 55 yards. Tight end Eric Ebron had four catches for 49 yards.

Golden Tate leads Detroit with 691 receiving yards this season. Marvin Jones has 622 yards and a team-high six touchdowns.

Defense: The Vikings defense yielded their lowest points allowed total of the season Sunday by holding the Rams to just seven points. Minnesota also allowed just 254 yards, the fourth-lowest total of the season.

Anthony Harris had a key forced fumble and recovery at the 1-yard line to prevent a potential touchdown. Danielle Hunter recorded his fifth sack of the season, and rookie Tashawn Bower picked up his first career sack.

Minnesota ranks fifth in the NFL with 290.5 yards allowed per game and is fourth with 17.2 points allowed per game.

The Lions allowed 398 total yards to the Bears, including 222 yards on the ground.

Detroit is tied for fourth in the league with 19 takeaways this season.

The Lions rank 23rd in the NFL with 345.5 yards allowed per game and are 19th with 23.4 points allowed per game.

Special Teams: Vikings kicker Kai Forbath hit one of his three field goal tries Sunday and made all three of his extra point attempts. Forbath is 23 of 26 on field goals this season.

Punter Ryan Quigley averaged 45.7 yards on three punts. He has landed 15 of his 39 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Lions kicker Matt Prater made both of his field goal attempts Sunday. His 52-yard try with 95 seconds left helped Detroit to a win. Prater has made 21 of his 24 field goals this season.

Detroit punter Sam Martin is averaging 45.3 yards per punt this season.

Detroit’s Jamal Agnew has two punt returns for scores this season and leads the NFL in that category.

Over The Years

The Vikings are 71-39-2 all-time against Detroit, a series that includes no playoff matchups.

Season sweeps have become a theme of late as either team has won both games in each of the past three seasons. The Lions won both games in 2014 and 2016, but the Vikings swept the season series in 2015 on the way to the NFC North title.

The Vikings will try to avoid being swept by the Lions on Thursday. Detroit won the first meeting this season in Week 4. 

Minnesota’s longest win streak in the rivalry is 13 games, a run of success that spanned from 1968 to 1974. Detroit’s longest win streak was the first five times the teams met.

Last meeting: Lions 14, Vikings 7, Oct. 1, 2017, in Minneapolis

The Vikings lost another close tilt to the Lions for the third straight game, as Minnesota’s last three losses to Detroit have been by a combined 16 points.

The Vikings fumbled away chances in the first meeting of 2017. The offense fumbled on back-to-back possessions, and the turnovers lead to 11 Detroit points.

Minnesota led 7-3 at halftime after a 5-yard touchdown run by rookie Dalvin Cook.

McKinnon then fumbled on the Vikings opening possession of the second half, which lead to a Prater field goal.

Cook fumbled on Minnesota’s next play and suffered a torn ACL on the carry. Detroit took over at the Vikings 29-yard line and scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to take the lead for good. 

Minnesota’s defense held the Lions to just 251 yards on 68 total plays as Detroit converted on just three of 13 third-down tries.

Stafford was sacked six times by the Vikings defense. Hunter had 2.0 sacks, and Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Eric Kendricks each got to Stafford. The final sack was credited as a team sack.

Keenum threw for 219 yards on the day. Diggs had five catches for 98 yards. Cook had 13 carries for 66 yards before he was injured.