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Early Look: Vikings vs. Lions

Posted Sep 25, 2017


EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings open NFC North play on Sunday when they host the Detroit Lions at noon (CT) at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota improved to 2-1 on the season with a strong 34-17 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. Detroit dropped its first game of the season in a close 30-26 loss to Atlanta. 

The Vikings dropped both games to the Lions last season when Minnesota went 2-4 in division play.

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

Passing: Vikings quarterback Case Keenum completed 25 of 33 passes for a career-high 369 yards against the Buccaneers. His three touchdown passes tied a career high, and his passer rating of 142.1 was the second-best of this career. 

Keenum is 1-1 as a starter this season. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Sunday quarterback Sam Bradford is day-to-day with a knee injury.

Bradford threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns in his lone start of the season.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 264 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta. Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, has thrown for 678 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception in 2017.

Rushing: Dalvin Cook just missed out on his second career 100-yard game. The Vikings rookie running back had 97 yards Sunday and scored his first career rushing touchdown.

Cook ranks second in the NFL with 288 rushing yards in three games.

Detroit ran for 71 yards on 19 carries against the Falcons. Ameer Abdullah had 47 yards on 14 carries. Abdullah leads Detroit with 163 rushing yards on 46 attempts.

Receiving: Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen teamed up for another impressive performance Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Diggs had eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns, and Thielen had five grabs for 98 yards. 

Thielen ranks second in the NFL with 299 receiving yards while Diggs is third with 293. Diggs has four touchdown catches, which ranks first.

Jarius Wright caught a touchdown pass Sunday, and Cook had five catches for 72 yards.

Detroit’s Golden Tate had seven catches for 58 yards and a touchdown Sunday, and T.J. Jones caught three passes for a team-high 63 yards.

Tate leads Detroit with 190 receiving yards this season. Kenny Golladay has 102, and Jones has 95.

 

Defense: The Vikings and Lions each picked off three passes on defense Sunday.

Trae Waynes, Andrew Sendejo and Harrison Smith all intercepted Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston. The turnovers were the first three forced by Minnesota this season.

Everson Griffen and Shamar Stephen each had a sack for the Vikings. Griffen has 4.0 sacks in three games. Stephen’s sack was the first of his career.

The Vikings have allowed 20.7 points per game this season.

Darius Slay had two picks, and Glover Quin had another for the Lions against Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan. Detroit also sacked Ryan twice.

The Lions, who are second in the NFL with seven interceptions, have allowed 21.0 points per game this season.

Special Teams: Vikings kicker Kai Forbath made both of his field goal attempts and all four extra point tries on Sunday. Forbath has made 21 consecutive field goals, the third-longest streak in team history.

Punter Ryan Quigley averaged 40.7 yards on three punts. He is tied for sixth in the NFL with a net average of 43.0 yards this season.

Lions kicker Matt Prater made all four of his field goal attempts Sunday with a long of 57 yards. Prater has made all six of his field goals this season.

Former Vikings punter Jeff Locke is now with the Lions and is averaging 44.8 yards on 10 punts in two games. 

Detroit’s Jamal Agnew returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown in Week 2.

Over The Years 

The Vikings are 71-38-2 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.

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

Last meeting: Lions 16, Vikings 13, Nov. 24, 2016, in Detroit

The Vikings lost a close tilt to the Lions for the second time in less than 20 days and dropped to 6-5 on the season on Thanksgiving Day.

The teams were tied at 13 late in the fourth quarter when Bradford was intercepted with just over 30 seconds left in regulation. The turnover set the Lions up for a game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expired.

Each team scored its lone touchdown in the opening quarter. Stafford threw a 2-yard score, and former Vikings running back Matt Asiata rushed for a 5-yard touchdown. 

The teams then traded field goals the rest of the game. Prater hit a 29-yard attempt before Forbath nailed a pair of kicks to give the Vikings at 13-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Prater tied the game on a 48-yard kick with just under two minutes left before his eventual game winner.

The competitive game saw Detroit put up 308 yards of offense compared to 306 for Minnesota. Bradford threw for 224 yards, and Stafford threw for 232.

The Vikings eventually finished 8-8 and missed the postseason. Detroit made the playoffs as a Wild Card team at 9-7.