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Game Preview: Vikings vs. Lions

Posted Sep 26, 2017

The Minnesota Vikings (2-1) host the second of back-to-back home games in Week 4 when the Detroit Lions (2-1) visit U.S. Bank Stadium. The Lions are coming off their first loss of the season, dropping a home contest, 30-26, to the Atlanta Falcons, while the Vikings defeated the Buccaneers, 34-17, in Week 3. The Vikings own a 7-3 record, including a 2-0 mark this season, at U.S. Bank Stadium since opening the venue.

Former Vikings WR Ahmad Rashad is set to be inducted in the team's Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony. Rashad led the Vikings in receiving in 1977, '79 and '80.

The Vikings offense has gotten off to fast start in 2017 averaging 400.3 yards per game, trailing only the Patriots (440.7). Fueling the offense is a passing attack that ranks third in the NFL with 285.3 yards per game and has accounted for six touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 115.4, fourth-best in the NFL. QBs Sam Bradford and Case Keenum have both posted games of 340-plus passing yards and three-plus touchdowns with no interceptions, making only the Vikings and Patriots (Tom Brady twice) as teams to have two such games this season.

WRs Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs rank second and third, respectively, in the NFL in receiving yards, giving the Vikings the only tandem in the top 10 league wide. Diggs has already tied a career-high with a league-leading four touchdowns. With 288 rushing yards, rookie RB Dalvin Cook trails only Kareem Hunt (401) through the first three weeks.

The Vikings run defense has held opponents to 62.7 yards per game (third in the NFL), 3.0 yards per rush (fourth in the NFL) and hasn't allowed a run longer than 11 yards, the best mark in the NFL. DE Everson Griffen secured his 52nd career sack in Week 3 and now has 4.0 sacks through 3 games to put him in a tie for third in the NFL. The Vikings defense grabbed its first turnovers of the season by snagging three interceptions vs. Tampa Bay. CB Trae Waynes, S Andrew Sendejo and S Harrison Smith each picked off Jameis Winston.

BROADCAAST COVERAGE

NATIONAL TELEVISION: FOX (Ch. 9 in Twin Cities)

Play-by-Play: Thom Brennaman Analyst: Chris Spielman

Sideline: Peter Schrager

LOCAL RADIO: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporter: Greg Coleman & Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 10:00 a.m. CT

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, five-state Vikings Radio Network.

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

WR Adam Thielen (299) and WR Stefon Diggs (293) rank second and third in the NFL in receiving yards, marking the first time since the 2000 Rams that two of the top three receiving yardage leaders are on the same team after Week 3 - Isaac Bruce (second-345) and Torry Holt (third-298).

The Vikings offense has converted 21 third downs through 3 weeks, tied for second in the NFL and has converted on 50 percent (21 of 42) of its third downs, second in the NFL.

Vikings DE Everson Griffen has nine career games with 2 or more sacks and seven since becoming a full-time starter in 2014, tied for fourth in the NFL in that span.

The Vikings punt coverage unit has held opponents to minus-1 punt return yard, tied with the 1972 Dallas Cowboys for the third-best mark in the NFL through three weeks to start a season since 1970 and trailing the 1970 St. Louis Cardinals (-7) and 1972 Washington Redskins (-3).

In Week 1 vs. New Orleans, TE Kyle Rudolph caught his 30th career touchdown, extending his franchise record for career touchdown receptions among TEs.

Vikings CB Marcus Sherels (1,822) set the franchise record for career punt return yards at Pittsburgh, passing WR Leo Lewis (1,812) as the all-time leader.

RB Dalvin Cook (third, 370), WR Adam Thielen (seventh, 299) and WR Stefon Diggs (eighth, 291) all rank in the top10 in the NFL for the most yards from scrimmage. The Vikings are the only team to have more than one player in the top 10.

QB Case Keenum is the second QB in franchise history (Tommy Krammer, 12/14/80 vs. Cleveland) to have 75-plus completion percentage, 360 or more passing yards, three-plus touchdowns and no interceptions in a single game.

STAT OF THE WEEK

The Vikings have thrown for 882 yards through 3 games in 2017, the third-most in franchise history since 1970.

VIKINGS PASSING YARDS THROUGH 3 GMS TO START SEASON 

1981: 988 Yards

2004: 982 Yards  

2017: 882 Yards                           

VIKINGS-LIONS CONNECTIONS

Vikings GM Rick Spielman received his first NFL personnel experience with the Lions serving as a college scout from 1990-94 before adding pro scouting duties in his final two seasons (’95-’96) with the Lions.

Vikings COO Kevin Warren spent 2001-03 with the Detroit Lions as Senior VP of Business Operations and General Counsel.

Vikings Personnel Consultant Jerry Reichow was a fourth-round pick in 1956 by Detroit and helped the Lions to their last NFL title in 1957.

Alan Williams joined the Lions coaching staff in 2014 as the DBs/Safeties Coach after spending the 2012-13 seasons as the Vikings Defensive Coordinator.

Vikings T Riley Reiff spent 2012-16 with Detroit and appeared in 77 games while starting 69 for the Lions. Reiff was a first-round pick (No. 23 overall) in 2012.

Lions Special Teams Coordinator Joe Marciano served as a Special Teams Consultant for the Vikings during the early part of the 2014 season.

Lions DE George Johnson spent time with the Vikings during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

Lions P Jeff Locke spent four seasons (2013-16) with the Vikings and played with Vikings LBs Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks and Vikings K Kai Forbath and LS Kevin McDermott while at UCLA.

Lions G Zac Kerin entered the NFL as an UDFA in 2014 with the Vikings and was with the team until being released after the 2017 preseason.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

The Vikings roster features two Michigan natives - C Joe Berger (Newaygo) and LB Eric Wilson (Redford) - and three players who attended college in Michigan - Berger (Michigan Tech), LB Ben Gedeon (Michigan) and CB Trae Waynes (Michigan State).

Lions RB Zach Zenner hails from Eagan, Minnesota, and attended Eagan High School before going to South Dakota State in Brookings, South Dakota. As a high school senior, Zenner was named to the Minnesota Vikings All-State High School Football Team.

Lions Regional Scout Mark Olson had a stint with the Vikings and graduated with his master's in sport management from the University of Minnesota in 1997.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

Vikings LB Eric Wilson and Lions RB Tion Green were teammates at Cincinnati from 2013-16. Both Wilson and Green earned roster spots after going undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Vikings WR Jarius Wright played at Arkansas with Lions C Travis Swanson from 2010-11.

Five players from the Vikings and Lions attended Notre Dame: Vikings S Harrison Smith (2007-10), Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (2008-09), Lions WR T.J. Jones (2010-13) Lions RB Theo Riddick (2009-12) and Lions WR Golden Tate (2007-08).

Vikings T Jeremiah Sirles blocked for Lions RB Ameer Abdullah while at Nebraska from 2011-13.

BIG DAYS

WR Stefon Diggs caught his first career touchdown at Detroit (10/25/15) and caught six passes for 108 yards in the Vikings 28-19 win over the Lions. Diggs earned Pepsi Rookie of the Week honors for his game at Detroit in 2015. Diggs also set a career high with 13 catches vs. Detroit (11/6) last season.

TE Kyle Rudolph has touchdowns in three of the past four games against the Lions, totaling 105 yards on 17 receptions in those games.

CB Terence Newman recorded his lone career punt return touchdown vs. Detroit (12/31/06) on a 56-yard return as a member of the Cowboys. 

CB Marcus Sherels returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown in the Vikings 20-13 win over the Lions on 9/30/12. The Vikings also scored a kickoff return touchdown in the game, marking the third time in team history scoring on a punt return and kickoff return in the same game.

WR Adam Thielen totaled 12 catches for 121 yards in two contests against the Lions last season.

LB Eric Kendricks had his first career game with multiple sacks (2.0) at Detroit (10/25/15). Kendricks went on to finish as the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for October 2015.

Stefon Diggs: 2 games, 19 receptions, 188 yards, 1 touchdown

Everson Griffen: 11 games, 35 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 11 TFL, 38 QB hurries

Case Keenum: 2 games, 41/54 (75.9%), 445 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 102.8 rating

Kyle Rudolph: 10 games, 39 receptions, 312 yards, 4 touchdowns

SERIES INFO

Record vs. Lions: Vikings 71-38-2

Last regular season game: Lions 16, Vikings 13 (2016)

Vikings largest winning margin: 34; Vikings 34, Lions 0 (1980)

Lions largest winning margin: 38; Lions 45, Vikings 7 (1981)

Current series streak: Lions, 2

Vikings longest win streak: 13 (1968-74)

Lions longest win streak: 5(1961-63)

Most Points, Vikings: 44 (1988)

Most Points, Lions: 45 Twice (1978 & 1981)

Most Points, both teams: 82; Lions 44, Vikings 38 (1995)

Fewest Points, Vikings: 2; Lions 13, Vikings 2 (1983)

Fewest Points, Lions: 0, 4 Times; (1969, 1980, 1988, 1993)

Fewest Points, both teams: 13 Twice; (1974, 1993)

Series Notes

The Vikings are currently 71-38-2 all-time against the Lions, including a mark of 39-15-1 record on the road.

Minnesota is looking to beat Detroit at U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time.

The Vikings “hosted” the New York Giants at Detroit’s Ford Field on 12/13/2010 after a blizzard collapsed the roof of the HHH Metrodome. Minnesota fell to New York by a score of 21-3.

In 1976, Sammy White established a team-record 210 receiving yards against the Lions in a 31-23 Vikings victory at Metropolitan Stadium.

In 1985, Vikings LB Scott Studwell established a team-record 24 total tackles in a 41-21 Vikings loss in Detroit.