The Vikings (2-1) remain at home this week to take on a divisional foe — the Detroit Lions (2-1) — at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The next three weeks are paramount for Minnesota in the NFC North as a whole because the Vikings play Detroit, Chicago and Green Bay consecutively.
Let’s see who the experts pick to win Sunday’s matchup.
Remember the Lions-Vikings* series last year? All appeared lost for Matthew Stafford and the offense when they played at Minnesota in Week 9 — then the franchise quarterback hit Andre Roberts with a laser, Matt Prater delivered a bomb to send the game to overtime and the Vikes continued their 2016 tailspin. On Thanksgiving, all of the Minnesota dinks and dunks caught up with Kyle Rudolph when Detroit corner Darius Slay jumped a short route and sealed the Lions Turkey Day triumph. I'm trusting Minnesota's defense this time around, whether or not Case Keenum starts. *
*Fun fact: Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen lead all wideout duos in catches and yards, and they're tied for second in touchdowns. #DETvsMIN *
Vikings 23, Lions 20 (OT)— Elliot Harrison*, *NFL.com
Last week, I tried to hedge my bet with the Minnesota Vikings, depending on whether *Sam Bradford *played. I'm not doing that this week because Case Keenum proved last week that he's capable of leading the offense in impressive fashion as well. Because of this, there will be a lot going against the Detroit Lions.
The game is in Minnesota, first of all. The Vikings have, without question, one of the five best defenses in the game. Everson Griffen is playing like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander match up well with any group of receivers.
Lions quarterback *Matthew Stafford *can usually produce magic against any team, but it's going to be difficult against the Vikings defense. In fact, I think it'll be too much to ask.
This might not be the case if Minnesota had the offense it did a year ago. However, this offense is impressive. The line is improved, there are more weapons, and coordinator Pat Shurmur finds ways to attack every single part of the field. Minnesota will be able to score points, and the defense will be able to harass Stafford enough that he won't find his usual late-game magic.
*Vikings 24, Lions 20 *— Chris Simms, Bleacher Report
The Lions lost a tough one to the Falcons and now must head out on the road to play a Vikings team that looked good beating the Bucs Sunday. The Minnesota defense will slow the Lions on offense and either Case Keenum or Sam Bradford will make enough plays to win it.
*Vikings 21, Lions 13 *— Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
At the time I’m making these picks I don’t know if it’s going to be Sam Bradford or Case Keenum under center for the Vikings, but I’ll take the Lions’ defense to force a few turnovers and win a big NFC North game.
Lions 28, Vikings 20 — Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk
The two games between these two teams essentially determined a playoff spot last year, with the Lions sweeping the series and earning a wild-card berth. Expect another hard-fought game with the Vikings using home-field advantage, a loud crowd, a resurgent defense, and Dalvin Cook to get over the top, even if by only a thin margin.
Vikings 21, Lions 20 — Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
No, nobody saw this Case Keenum renaissance coming (369 yards, three touchdowns against the Buccaneers). No one knows how long it lasts, either. It could end this week against a Lions team with a defense that handled Matt Ryan fairly well and gave Matthew Stafford a chance to win. Jim Caldwell no longer has to answer weekly questions about his job security, which can’t hurt.**
Lions 28, Vikings 20 **– David Steele, Sporting News
FiveThirtyEight’s 2015 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team’s chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning Super Bowl 50. Playoff probabilities are based on 20,000 simulations of the season and will update after each game.
Pre-game win probabilities: *Vikings 57 percent *— FiveThirtyEight.com
3 of 11 experts pick the Vikings, ESPN