As the Vikings look to bounce back after two road losses, they're looking to extend their home win record to 4-0 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Lions have won only twice in Vikings territory since 1998, and they may very well have their hands full again against a dominant Minnesota defense.
James Hawkins of The Detroit News put together a preview of the division-rival matchup, and he listed three Vikings to watch on Sunday, the first being defensive end Everson Griffen. Hawkins wrote:
Part of a stalwart line, he generates plenty of pressure and will give rookie left tackle Taylor Decker everything he can handle. Griffen had 2.5 sacks in two victories over the Lions last season and has a team-high five this year. He also has 18 tackles, 10 quarterback pressures and a forced fumble.
Another defensive player Hawkins said Detroit should be wary of is linebacker Eric Kendricks, who leads the Vikings with 54 tackles in his second pro season.
He has fared well in covering running backs in pass coverage and will play a key role in containing running back Theo Riddick. Kendricks has six passes defensed, a forced fumble and a 77-yard INT return for a score.
UPDATE: Kendricks has been ruled out for Sunday's game.*
The third player Hawkins zeroed in on is the only offensive weapon on the list: wide receiver Stefon Diggs, also in his second Vikings season.
The shifty receiver is the best offensive weapon for the Vikings and quarterback Sam Bradford's main target. Diggs has a team-high 35 receptions for 466 yards, and two TDs. He recorded one of his four career 100-yard receiving games against the Lions last year.
Hawkins delved into another handful of topics surrounding the game, including reminding readers that Minnesota's defense sacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford eight times in their two meetings last season. He also anticipated that tight end Kyle Rudolph could be poised for a big game against the Lions. Detroit's defense has allowed 50 receptions for 515 yards and eight touchdowns by opposing tight ends this season.
Terence Newman stays put in Ike Taylor's CB rankings
For the second week in a row, former cornerback Ike Taylor, now with NFL Media, listed Terence Newman at No. 8 in his cornerback rankings. The 36-year-old Taylor, two years younger than Newman, wrote the following:
The old man is staying put based off what I saw Monday night. Newman allowed two catches for 28 yards on three targets against Minnesota. Everyone is talking about Xavier Rhodes, but the guy on the other side is quietly having one of the best seasons of any corner in the league. He's not giving up the big play, and he shows up every week. He's probably the most underrated guy on this list.
Just above Newman on Taylor's list was Josh Norman, whom the Vikings will face next week at Washington. Norman jumped from No. 2 to No. 7 after his performance against the Bengals.
Norman gave up a few plays to A.J. Green (five catches for 76 on 13 targets), which I expected, but I like that he's finally beginning to be that traveling corner. His coaching staff has confidence in him, and he's conveying his confidence in his play. Two knocks against Norman from last week, though, are the two dropped would-be INTs and the five penalties. I can live a little with the dropped picks, but those penalties really hurt the team, especially when you end in a tie.
Looking ahead: could Peterson have postseason comeback?
The day after the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908, Jason Gonzalez of the *Star Tribune *drew a parallel between the Cubs and the Vikings.
Gonzalez pointed out that Chicago's Kyle Schwarber had an Adrian-Peterson-like comeback after tearing his ACL and MCL, and he appeared just in time to help the Cubs win the title.
Vikings fans have seen Peterson, currently on injured reserve with a torn meniscus, make a speedy recovery before, and Gonzalez posed the possibility of Peterson returning to the field if Minnesota makes the playoffs.
Peterson has proven he is inspired and driven the same way Schwarber was and returned strong from past injuries. He tore his ACL and MCL in 2011 and the next season won league MVP. Then after missing all but one game in 2014, he won the NFL rushing title in 2015.
Gonzalez quoted General Manager Rick Spielman, who told Twin Cities media members in early October, "I look at it as he's going to do everything he can to get back. I look at it also as that's at least eight, nine weeks of not taking hits on that body, which is going to make him pretty fresh."
It's been six weeks since Peterson's body has taken a hit and there are nine left in the regular season.
*Peterson only needs to look at Schwarber's heroic storyline for added inspiration. *