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Game Preview: Vikings at Lions

For the seventh time in team history, the Minnesota Vikings (6-4) will play on Thanksgiving when they travel to play the Detroit Lions (6-4) in Week 12 at Ford Field. Minnesota is searching for its first division win since Week 2 when it defeated the Green Bay Packers 17-14. The Vikings are coming off a 30-24 win vs. Arizona while the Lions are coming off 26-19 win at home over Jacksonville. Minnesota is powered by the NFL's second-ranked defense in points allowed, giving up 17.6 points per game, and an offensive unit that has committed a turnover in only three of the 10 games this season, helping the team tie for first in the NFL with a plus-13 turnover margin.

The Vikings defense, which ranks third in the NFL by allowing 306.9 yards per game, has 20 takeaways (12 interceptions, eight fumble recoveries), tied for the second-most in the NFL. The Vikings defense has held opponents to a 73.4 passer rating, the second-best mark in the league.

WR Stefon Diggs is third in the NFL with 67 receptions this season, including 13 catches in the last contest vs. Detroit in Week 9. Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph, who leads the Vikings in touchdowns (5), has scored in three straight games against the Lions. QB Sam Bradford, who has started nine games since being acquired via trade from Philadelphia on Sept. 3, is seventh in the NFL with a 99.8 passer rating. Bradford has thrown 12 touchdowns and two interceptions on 217-of-311 passing (69.8 percent, third in NFL).

BROADCAST COVERAGE

NATIONAL TELEVISION: CBS; Play-by-Play: Jim Nantz; Analyst: Phil Simms; Sideline: Tracy Wolfson and Jay Feely

NATIONAL RADIO: WestwoodOne Sports; Play-by-Play: Tom McCarthy; Analyst: Ross Tucker; Sideline: Hub Arkush

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

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen; Analyst: Pete Bercich; Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber 

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 10 a.m. CT

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

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

• Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson tied Percy Harvin for the Vikings all-time kick return touchdown record after scoring on his fifth career kick return vs. Arizona (11/20). Patterson, who returned the kick 104 yards for a touchdown, also became the first player in the history of the NFL to score four touchdowns of 100-plus yards.

• In nine starts in 2016, QB Sam Bradford has five games with a passer rating over 100, setting a new career high. Bradford had four such games in 2012 with St. Louis and 2015 with Philadelphia.

• Vikings DEs have combined for 18 sacks this season, the second-highest total in the NFL, trailing only Seattle's Des, who have totaled 23.0 sacks in 2016. The Vikings are the only team in the NFL to have three DEs with 5.0-plus sacks this season — Danielle Hunter (7.0), Everson Griffen (6.0) and Brian Robison (5.0).

• Danielle Hunter, who is the second-youngest player on the Vikings roster behind Laquon Treadwell, ranks second in the NFL in sacks among players under the age of 24 with 7.0 in his second season (Frank Clark, SEA, 7.5).

• In the past three weeks, WR Stefon Diggs leads the NFL with 32 receptions and is third with 281 receiving yards. Diggs' 13 receptions vs. Detroit (11/6) and at Washington (11/13) are third in Vikings history in a single game behind WR Cris Carter's 14 receptions at Arizona (10/2/94) and RB Rickey Young's 15 receptions at New England (12/16/79).

• The Vikings have thrown two interceptions on 344 passing attempts (0.58 percent) in 2016, trailing only the Patriots who have thrown one interception on 321 passing attempts (0.31 percent). The Cowboys have also only thrown two interceptions on 318 attempts (0.62 percent) this season.

VIKINGS-LIONS CONNECTIONS

• Vikings GM Rick Spielman received his first 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 fourth-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 features four Michigan natives — G Willie Beavers (Southfield), C Joe Berger (Newaygo), LB Audie Cole (Monroe) and FB Zach Line (Oxford) — and four players who attended college in Michigan — Beavers (Western Michigan), Berger (Michigan Tech), WR Charles Johnson (Grand Valley State) 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.

• Four 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 first-career touchdown at Detroit (10/25/15) and caught six 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. Diggs also set a career high with 13 catches for 80 yards in the contest vs. Detroit (11/6) this season.
  • LB Chad Greenway set a career-high with two interceptions against the Lions on 9/20/09. Greenway added three tackles in a Vikings 27-13 win. Greenway snagged his 11th career interception vs. Detroit (11/6) in Week 9.
  • TE Kyle Rudolph has touchdowns in three straight games against the Lions after hauling in a TD in both contests last season and their first matchup this season. 
  • CB Marcus Sherels returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown 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 third time in team history scoring on a PR and KR in the same game.
  • Michigan native, FB Zach Line scored his first career touchdown vs. Detroit (9/20) on a 1-yard rush.
  • RB Matt Asiata posted his first and only 100-plus-yard rushing performance against the Lions, finishing with a career-best 115 yards in the 2013 season finale. Asiata also caught a career-high seven 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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