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Final Thoughts: Vikings vs. Lions

With kickoff minutes away, here are a few final thoughts about today's game…

Vikings need to be strong up the middle

This is an old-school, NFC North, rough and tumble matchup with Detroit. It is important for the Vikings to be physical. Players who line up in the middle of the field can set the tone for that. If C Joe Berger, QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Adrian Peterson get off to a fast start, the offense will be in good shape. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings run defense is anchored by DTs Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd in the middle of the field; they must play well to help set the tone. So, too, must middle LB Gerald Hodges and S Harrison Smith.

Win on special teams

K Blair Walsh looked good in warm ups and the Vikings will look for him to bounce back and perform well in a game that could well be tight down the stretch. Close games often times come down to place kicking, so it's important for the Vikings to perform well in this area. Other areas of special teams to watch include the Vikings return game and their coverage units. When clicking on all cylinders, these facets of the Vikings special teams can be among the best in the League. Lastly, when the special teams gives the defense and offense opportunities, those opportunities must be taken advantage of. For example, blocking a FG and returning it deep into opponent territory must eventually yield points. That didn't happen last week in San Francisco, but it must happen today.

Xavier vs. Megatron

If Detroit handles its business in similar fashion to how it did last week in San Diego, we could see a lot of Xavier Rhodes vs. Calvin Johnson. That's a fun matchup to watch and one that Rhodes will be up for.

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