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Early Look: Vikings vs. Lions

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings can turn their focus to the division.

The Vikings had their three-game winning streak snapped Sunday night with a 30-20 home loss to the Saints.

Minnesota now sits at 4-3-1 and plays the next three games, and five of its final eight contests, against NFC North foes.

The first of those tilts is Sunday at home against Detroit. Kickoff is at noon (CT).

The Lions are 3-4 after falling 28-14 at home to Seattle on Sunday.

Here’s a look at Minnesota’s Week 9 home game against the Lions:

Passing: Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 31 of 41 passes (75.6 percent) for 359 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against the Saints. He had a passer rating of 107.7 and was sacked four times.

Cousins’ lone interception was a costly one as it was returned for a touchdown by New Orleans.

The quarterback is ranked second in the NFL with 2,521 yards. He is also tied for sixth with 16 touchdown passes, and is one of five quarterbacks with a completion percentage of 70 percent or better.

Minnesota will go up against a familiar foe Sunday in Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is 8-8 in his career against the Vikings.

Stafford completed 27 of 40 passes for 310 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against the Seahawks. He had a passer rating of 96.9 and was sacked three times.

Stafford has thrown for 1,912 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions for Detroit this season.

Rushing: The Vikings tallied 85 yards and a touchdown on the ground on 22 carries against the NFL’s top rushing defense.

Latavius Murray had 56 yards and a 1-yard score on 13 carries with a long of 12 yards. Murray leads the Vikings with 386 rushing yards and four scores.

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen had a 15-yard carry, and running back Mike Boone had three carries for 11 yards. Dalvin Cook did not play again with a hamstring injury.

Lions running back Kerryon Johnson led Detroit with 22 yards on eight carries Sunday. The Lions had a season-low 34 rushing yards.

Johnson leads Detroit with 466 rushing yards and also has a score. LeGarrette Blount has 170 rushing yards and a team-high three rushing touchdowns.

The Lions rank 12th with 122.3 rushing yards per game, and the Vikings are 27th with 87.4 rushing yards per game.

Receiving: Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs each topped the 100-yard mark and found the end zone Sunday against the Saints.

Diggs had 10 catches for 119 yards and a score, his third-highest output of the season.

Thielen recorded nine catches for 103 yards and a score, but did have a fumble in the red zone. He had a touchdown catch for the fifth straight game.

Thielen also eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the eighth straight game, which is a record to open a season and tied the overall streak of eight games along with former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Thielen leads the NFL with 74 catches for 925 yards, and he also has six touchdowns.

Murray and tight end Kyle Rudolph each had 39 receiving yards.

Marvin Jones, Jr., had seven catches for 117 yards and two scores Sunday, and Golden Tate had seven receptions for 50 yards. Johnson had six catches for 69 yards.

Tate leads the Lions with 44 catches for 517 yards and has three scores. Kenny Golladay also has three touchdowns to go along with 477 receiving yards.

Jones leads Detroit with five touchdown catches and has 387 receiving yards.

Defense: The Vikings fared well on Sunday night, holding the Saints to their season-low in both total yards (270) and passing yards (164).

Harrison Smith had an interception for the Vikings, who were unable to sack quarterback Drew Brees.

The Vikings were without linebacker Anthony Barr, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Andrew Sendejo, but defensive end Everson Griffen made his return to the field after a five-game absence.

Defensive end Danielle Hunter leads the Vikings and is tied for second in the NFL with 8.0 sacks. Smith leads Minnesota with three interceptions.

The Lions allowed 413 yards to Seattle, including 176 yards on the ground. Seattle converted six of 12 tries on third downs.

Damon Harrison, who was acquired last week, and Romeo Okwara had sacks for the Lions. Okwara is tied for the team lead with 5.0 sacks along with Devon Kennard. Detroit has two total interceptions this season.

Minnesota ranks 10th in yards allowed per game (336.4) and 14th in points allowed per game (24.4).

The Lions rank 19th in yards allowed per game (367.7) and 25th in points allowed per game (26.6).

Special Teams: Vikings kicker Dan Bailey made two of his three extra point tries Sunday and did not attempt a field goal. Bailey is 11 of 14 on field goals since joining the Vikings in Week 3.

Punter Matt Wile punted just twice, averaging 40.5 yards per punt. Marcus Sherels had a 4-yard punt return and a 17-yard kickoff return.

Lions kicker Matt Prater made both of his extra point attempts and didn’t try a field goal Sunday. He is 13 of 16 on field goals this season. Punter Sam Martin averages 45.6 yards per punt.

Neither the Vikings nor Lions have a kickoff or punt return for a score in 2018.

Over The Years

The Vikings are 72-39-2 all-time against the Lions, and the teams have never met in postseason play.

The 113 total matchups are the third-most against an opponent in Vikings franchise history. The Vikings have only played Green Bay and Chicago more times.

Detroit has had the upper hand of late, winning three of the past four matchups. The Lions are a perfect 2-0 in the history of U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota’s longest win streak in the rivalry is 13 games, which spanned from 1968 to 1974. Detroit’s longest win streak is five games and came in the first five meetings between the teams.

Last meeting: Vikings 30, Lions 23, Nov. 23, 2017, in Detroit

The Vikings feasted on Thanksgiving to pick up a key divisional win.

Rudolph caught a pair of first-half touchdowns as Minnesota raced out to a 20-10 halftime lead.

Murray then opened the second half with a 2-yard rushing score to give the Vikings a 17-point lead.

The Lions answered with 13 straight points, but a late field goal put Minnesota up by a touchdown. Rhodes intercepted Stafford on the final drive to ice the win.

The victory was Minnesota’s seventh in a row. The Vikings improved to 9-2 and took a big step to an eventual NFC North title.

Case Keenum threw for 282 yards and two scores for a passer rating of 121.8. Murray ran for 84 yards and a score on 20 carries.

Minnesota held Detroit to just 289 total yards as the Lions went 3-for-11 on third downs.

The Vikings clinched the division three weeks later and finished 13-3. Detroit finished 9-7 and missed the postseason.

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