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Expert Picks: Vikings Look To Get Back on Track vs. Lions

The Vikings kick off the first of a three-game stretch against divisional opponents as Minnesota (4-3-1) hosts the Detroit Lions (3-4) on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Lions lost last week’s game Seattle Seahawks 28-14 and are looking to be the only Vikings opponent to win 3 games at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings dropped their last game against the New Orleans Saints and will look to get back on track after winning three out of four games in the month of October.

Let’s see what is expected from the Vikings in their Week 9 matchup:

Vikings 27, Lions 16, Elliot Harrison, NFL.com

The Lions are not tanking. Yes, they just suffered an ugly home loss to Seattle. And yes, in the wake of said loss, they traded Golden Tate. But they also traded for "Snacks" Harrison. And the Tate deal -- which netted Detroit a third-round pick -- felt like the kind of purely financial, big-picture move that's common in the NFL's salary cap era. That said, it's OK to wonder where the spark on this offense will come from -- always thought of Tate as the igniter for this team. For the Lions to win in Minnesota -- and not to sound like a broken Motown 33 here -- they should get their running backs more involved. The lack of usage at times is mind boggling. What the heck happened with Kerryon Johnson last week? One week after the rookie's 158-yard effort in Miami, the Lions barely ran him. Detroit's defense is suspect. Kirk Cousins will eat Lions defenders alive if they don't get down time, and perhaps fewer possessions to contain the Vikes' offense. Prediction: Adam Thielen passes the 100-yard mark again, on his last catch of the day. More important: Minnesota will be running Dalvin Cook on Sunday. We hope.

Lions 33, Vikings 30, David Steele, Sporting News

Sunday night’s loss to the Saints at home was a microcosm of the Vikings’ season: exciting, statistically proficient, good to very good at times, but nothing close to as great as expected going into the season. Beating the so-so Lions would reinforce that; so would losing to them. Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford, entering the league and getting their massive contracts at different times, are looking more like two peas in a pod every week.

Vikings 31, Lions 23, Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

The Vikings need to pick up the pieces after unraveling against the Saints, and Kirk Cousins will be up to the task with more support from the running game and receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. The Lions will see Kerryon Johnson cool off, and Matthew Stafford will not be able to light it up well enough on road.

Vikings 24, Lions 23 - Bleacher Report Staff

The Detroit Lions have never lost at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

OK, it's just a two-game sample, but it's worth noting that the Lions have outscored their division rival by a combined margin of 36-23 in a pair of road games at Minnesota's new stadium the last two years. And even though they've yet to face the Vikes with Kirk Cousins at quarterback, the majority of our analysts believe Detroit can at least keep it really close when the two meet Sunday in Minnesota.

"Pressure has been a problem for Cousins all season," Brad Gagnon said. "And despite the absence of Ziggy Ansah, the Lions pass rush has the No. 1 sack rate in the league. The Vikings have already suffered two losses to the Lions at this venue as well as two tough home losses so far this season. So while I wouldn't be surprised if Minnesota won this game, I'm not willing to lay 4.5 points with this mistake-prone, inconsistent Vikings team against a familiar opponent that may have their number."

This is definitely a tricky one, though. Can't fault Gary Davenport for believing that the Vikes bounce back after losing to the New Orleans Saints in devastating fashion — they were arguably outplaying New Orleans before they were victimized by a 17-point swing resulting from an Adam Thielen fumble late in the first half — or that the Lions are due for a loss at this stadium following a dud performance at home against the Seattle Seahawks.

Vikings 24, Lions 16 - Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

Neither of these teams looked good last week in losing. The Vikings haven't looked as good as expected on defense, but I think that will change here. The Lions have no offensive identity, and the Vikings will take advantage of that. Look for Minnesota to get back on track.

The Lions signaled by trading Golden Tate that they don’t think they’re NFC North contenders. They’ll confirm that on Sunday.

Vikings 31, Lions 21 – Mike Florio Pro Football Talk

The Lions are 2-0 in U.S. Bank Stadium. They won’t extend that streak to three.

Pre-game win probabilities: Vikings 68 percent, FiveThirtyEight

9 of 9 experts picked the Vikings, SB Nation

5 of 5 experts picked the Vikings, USA TODAY

8 of 8 experts picked the Vikings, CBS Sports

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