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Game Preview: Lions at Vikings

In their 1st home game since October 9, the Minnesota Vikings (5-2) host the Detroit Lions (4-4) in Week 9. Minnesota is coming off consecutive road losses after dropping games at Philadelphia and at Chicago. The Lions will play in their 2nd straight road game after losing to the Houston Texans, 20-13. Minnesota is powered by the NFL's 1st-ranked defense in points allowed, giving up 14.9 points per game, and an offensive unit that hadn't commited a turnover until week 8, helping the team lead the NFL with a +11 turnover margin.

The Vikings defense, which ranks 2nd in the NFL allowing 297.1 yards per game, has 16 takeaways (9 INTs, 7 FRs), tied for most in the NFL. The Vikings defense has held opponents to a 68.1 passer rating, the 2nd-best mark in the league (Denver, 65.7). Minnesota is the only team in the NFL to have 4 players with 3+ sacks - DE Everson Griffen (5.0), DE Danielle Hunter (4.0), DE Brian Robison (4.0) and DT Linval Joseph (3.0). Minnesota is also 1 of 4 teams (ARI, NYG, OAK) to have 3 players with multiple INTs - CB Xavier Rhodes, S Andrew Sendejo and CB Trae Waynes have all set a new career high with 2 INTs in 2016.

Vikings QB Sam Bradford, who has started 6 games (4-2) since being acquired via trade from Philadelphia on Sept. 3, is 8th in the NFL with a 98.2 passer rating. Bradford has thrown 8 TDs and 1 INTs on 135-of-203 passing (66.5 %, 9th in NFL).

BROADCAST COVERAGE

NATIONAL TELEVISION: FOX; Play-by-Play: Kenny Albert; Analyst: Daryl Johnston; Sideline: Laura Okmin

NATIONAL RADIO: ESPN RADIO; Play-by-Play: Adam Amin; Analyst: Bill Polian; Sideline: Jeff Darlington

LOCAL RADIO: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen; Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporter: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 5:30 p.m. CT

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, 5-state Vikings Radio Network.

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

  • The Vikings have allowed 104 points through the 1st 7 games, the lowest mark for the franchise since allowing 91 points through 7 games in 1977.
  • CB Xavier Rhodes, who recorded 3 PBUs at Chicago (10/31), has a career-high 2 INTs this season and is 1 of 2 players (Yannick Ngakoue, JAX) to have an INT, FF and TFL in the same game in 2016 after totaling 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FF, 1 INT and 2 passes defensed at Philadelphia (10/23).
  • CB Marcus Sherels leads the NFL with 2 PR TDs in 2016 and is 3rd with a 14.6 PR avg. Sherels is the only Viking in team history to return 2 punts for a TD in a single season.
  • On passing attempts over 20 yards, the Vikings defense has held opponents to 7-of-25 passing, 201 yards, 0 TDs and recorded 4 INTs for an NFL-low passer rating of 21.0.
  • With 31 catches for 322 yards and 3 TDs through 7 games, TE Kyle Rudolph moved into 2nd for receptions in team history by a TE with 213. Rudolph, who caught his 25th career TD in Week 4, is just 3 TDs shy of matching Steve Jordan's Vikings team record for TDs by a TE with 28.
  • WR Adam Thielen recorded his 1st career 100-yard receiving game vs. Houston (10/9), posting career highs in catches (7) and yards (127) while hauling in his 3rd career TD. Thielen is the only Viking to have a reception for at least 15 yards in every game this season.
  • The Vikings defense has held opponents to 4.5 yards per play on 1st downs in 2016, the lowest in the NFL.
  • With 4 total takeaways (2 INTs, 2 FRs) S Andrew Sendejo is tied for 2nd most among all players in the NFL. Sendejo's 2 INTs is also tied for 2nd among all S this season.
  • DE Danielle Hunter, who was 2nd in the NFL among all rookies with 6.0 sacks last season, has 4.0 sacks through the first 7 games. Hunter, who turned 22 last week, is still the 2nd-youngest player on the Vikings roster (Laquon Treadwell).

VIKINGS-LIONS CONNECTIONS

· Vikings GM Rick Spielman received his 1st NFL personnel experience with the Lions serving as a college scout from 1990-94 before adding pro scouting duties in his final 2 seasons (95-96) with the Lions. Spielman's brother, Chris, is the Lions all-time leading tackler, playing for Detroit from 1988-95.

· Vikings COO Kevin Warren spent 2001-03 with the Detroit Lions as Senior VP of Business Operations and General Counsel.

· Vikings Personnel Consultant Jerry Reichow was a 4th-round pick in 1956 by Detroit and helped the Lions to their last NFL title in 1957.

· Alan Williams joined the Lions coaching staff in 2014 as the DBs/safeties coach after spending the 2012-13 seasons as the Vikings Defensive Coordinator.

· Vikings QB Shaun Hill played in Detroit from 2010-13, starting 10 games and appearing in 15 for the Lions.

· Lions Special Teams Coordinator Joe Marciano served as a Special Teams Consultant for the Vikings during the early part of the 2014 season.

· Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer and Lions Senior Coaching Assistant Gunther Cunningham coached together in Kansas City from 2006-08, Priefer was the ST Coordinator, while Cunningham was the Defensive Coordinator.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

· The Vikings roster featues 5 Michigan natives - G Willie Beavers (Southfield), C Joe Berger (Newaygo), LB Audie Cole (Monroe) and FB Zach Line (Oxford) and T Jake Long (Lapeer) - and 5 players who attended college in Michigan - Beavers (Western Michigan), Berger (Michigan Tech), WR Charles Johnson (Grand Valley State), Long (Michigan) and CB Trae Waynes (Michigan State).

· Lions RB Zach Zenner hails from Eagan, Minnesota and attended South Dakota State in Brookings, South Dakota. As a high school senior, Zenner was named to the Minnesota Vikings All State HS Football Team.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

· Vikings WR Jarius Wright played at Arkansas with Lions C Travis Swanson from 2010-11.

· Vikings K Blair Walsh played at Georgia with Lions QB Matthew Stafford for the 2008 season.

· 4 players from the Vikings and Lions attended Notre Dame: Vikings S Harrison Smith (2007-10), Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (2008-09), Lions RB Theo Riddick (2009-12), and Lions WR Golden Tate (2007-08).

· Vikings T Jeremiah Sirles blocked for Lions RB Ameer Abdullah, who is currently on IR, while at Nebraska.

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. LIONS

  • WR Stefon Diggs caught his 1st career TD at Detroit (10/25/15) and caught 6 passes for 108 yards in the Vikings 28-19 win over the Lions. Diggs earned Pepsi Rookie of the Week honors for his game at Detroit last season.
  • LB Chad Greenway set a career-high with 2 INTs against the Lions on 9/20/09. Greenway added 3 tackles in a Vikings 27-13 win.
  • TE Kyle Rudolph has TDs in 2 straight games against the Lions after hauling in a TD in both contests last season.
  • CB Marcus Sherels returned a punt 77 yards for a TD in the Vikings 20-13 win over the Lions on 9/30/12. The Vikings also scored a kickoff return TD in the game, marking the 3rd time in team history scoring on a PR and KR in the same game.
  • Michigan native, FB Zach Line scored his 1st career TD in the last outing vs. Detroit (9/20) on a 1-yard rush.
  • RB Matt Asiata posted his 1st and only 100+ yard rushing performance against the Lions, finishing with a career-best 115 yards in the 2013 season finale. Asiata also caught a career-high 7 passes for 50 yards at Detroit (12/14/14).
  • LB Eric Kendricks had his only career game with multiple sacks (2.0) at Detroit (10/25/15). Kendricks went on to finish as the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for October 2015.
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