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Game Preview: Vikings-Lions

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings are the NFL's final team to host a division game in 2019 but will join the club on Sunday when Detroit (3-8-1) visits Minnesota (8-4).

This was the first time since 1972 for the Vikings to play their entire road slate of division games before hosting at least one. The reward for the early travel is a stretch of three games at U.S. Bank Stadium in the final four of the regular season.

Minnesota is on a short week after losing 37-30 at Seattle on Monday Night Football. Detroit last played on Thanksgiving when a 10-point Lions lead slipped away and ended with a 24-20 win by the Bears.

Since Week 5, Kirk Cousins has totaled an NFL-best passer rating of 120.8. He leads the NFL with 20 touchdown passes, ranks third with 2,297 passing yards and fourth in completion percentage (71.0) in that span.

Dalvin Cook ranks fifth the NFL with 1,046 rushing yards and is tied for first with 12 scores on the ground. He also ranks second with 1,536 yards from scrimmage, the sixth-most in team history through the first 12 games of a season.

Kyle Rudolph has at least one touchdown in five of the past six games.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster for the 2019 season.

Stefon Diggs is fifth among receiving qualifiers with a per-catch average of 18.1 yards. He also ranks 13th in the league with 905 yards. Diggs needs 117 receiving yards to top the 1,021 he totaled in 2018 for a new single-season best.

Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter needs one-half sack to reach 50 for his career. He can become the youngest player in NFL history to reach that milestone on Sunday (25 years, 40 days).

Minnesota's offense ranks eighth in yards per game (376.6), fourth in yards per play (6.12), sixth in rushing yards per game (137.1), 13th in passing yards per game (239.5) and seventh in points per game (26.6).

Detroit's offense ranks seventh in the NFL in yards per game (377.3), 11th in yards per play (5.76) and 18th in rushing yards per game (105.6). The Lions are seventh in passing yards per game (271.7) and 14th in points per game (23.3).

The Vikings rank 11th in the NFL in points against (20.2), 16th in yards allowed per game (347.4), 15th in rushing yards allowed per game (104.5) and 20th in passing yards allowed per game (242.9).

The Lions are 25th in the NFL in points against (26.3), 29th in yards allowed per game (398.1), 23rd in rushing yards allowed per game (118.0) and 30th in passing yards allowed per game (280.1).



Play-by-Play: Thom Brennaman

Analyst: Chris Spielman

Sideline Reporter: Shannon Spake


KFAN (100.3-FM/KTLK 1130-AM in Minneapolis/St. Paul)

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen

Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman & Ben Leber

Radio Pre-game Show: Mike Mussman | 10 a.m. (CT)

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


Sirius: DET 138 or Streaming 810; MIN 82 or Streaming 819

XM: DET Streaming 810; MIN 227 or Streaming 819


With 53 touchdown passes since coming to Minnesota in 2018, Kirk Cousins has set a record for a player in his first two seasons with the Vikings, passing the 51 thrown by Warren Moon from 1994-95.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Lions.


Minnesota has opened a season 8-4 for the sixth time in team history (1974, 1977, 1988, 1997, 2015 and 2019). The team made the playoffs after each of the previous 8-4 starts.

Mike Zimmer is 17-15-1 against NFC North teams as head coach of the Vikings.

The Vikings offense has allowed only 22 sacks in 2019. Minnesota suffered 40 in 2018.

QB Kirk Cousins has thrown for 7,330 yards since joining the Vikings. He passed Brett Favre (6,711) in Week 10 for the seventh-most in team history.

Since Week 5, the Vikings offense has averaged 402.8 yards per game, the second-most in the NFL in that span.

Kyle Rudolph (419 receptions) passed Jake Reed (413) in Week 11 for fifth place on Minnesota's all-time list. Anthony Carter is fourth all-time with 478.

Irv Smith, Jr., has 267 receiving yards and is 181 shy of the team rookie record by a tight end (Joe Senser, 447 in 1980).

The Vikings defense is tied for the fewest rushing touchdowns allowed in the NFL this season (five).

According to league stats, Eric Kendricks has a career-high 12 pass breakups on the season, which is two more than any other linebacker this season.


Pro Bowl Voting

Last chance! Vote to help make sure all your favorite Vikings make the 2020 Pro Bowl in Orlando. Voting ends Dec. 12, 2019.


Vikings GM Rick Spielman began his NFL career with the Lions as a college scout (1990-94) before adding pro scouting duties (1995-96).

Vikings T Riley Reiff started 69 of 77 games played for the Lions from 2012-16 after he was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Minnesota RB Ameer Abdullah started 22 of 35 games for Detroit from 2015-18.

Lions Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell worked in the same role with the Vikings from 2006-10.

Detroit offensive line coach Jeff Davidson held the same position with Minnesota from 2011-15, and assistant offensive line coach Hank Fraley was with the Vikings from 2014-16.

Lions tight ends coach Chris White was the Vikings assistant special teams coach from 2009-12.

Detroit CB Justin Coleman signed with Minnesota in 2015 as an undrafted free agent but was released prior to the season.

Lions QB Kyle Sloter spent the first two seasons of his NFL career with the Vikings but did not play in a regular-season game.

Detroit P Matt Wile (on the practice squad) averaged 41.3 yards on 72 punts for Minnesota in 2018.


There are three Michigan natives — QB Kirk Cousins, TE Tyler Conklin and LB Eric Wilson — and four players who attended college in Michigan — Cousins, Conklin, Ben Gedeon (Injured Reserve) and Trae Waynes — on the Vikings roster.

Lions OL Frank Ragnow attended Chanhassen High School.


Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was the defensive coordinator in Dallas (2000-06) when Lions Defensive Coordinator Paul Pasqualoni was with the Cowboys from 2005-07.

Minnesota Defensive Coordinator George Edwards (2005-09) coached with Pasqualoni (2008-09) and Lions Special Teams Coordinator John Bonamego (2008-10) at Miami.

Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer worked with Bonamego in New Orleans (2006-07).


Minnesota G Josh Kline (2013-15) played for the Patriots when Detroit Head Coach Matt Patricia was on New England's staff (2004-17).


Vikings TE Tyler Conklin (2014-17) played under Lions Special Teams Coordinator John Bonamego (2015-18) at Central Michigan.

Minnesota DT Shamar Stephen (2009-13) was with Connecticut when Detroit Defensive Coordinator Paul Pasqualoni was head coach.

Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes (2009-12) and Lions LB Christian Jones (2010-13) teamed together at Florida State.

Minnesota G Pat Elflein (2012-16) and Lions T Taylor Decker (2012-15) were teammates at Ohio State.



Kirk Cousins: 4 games (4 starts — 3 with MIN), 93-of-123 passing (75.0 percent), 1,056 yards, 9 TD, 1 INT, 121.9 passer rating; 10 rushes for 16 yards and 1 TD

Dalvin Cook: 4 games (3 starts), 64 rushes, 370 yards, 3 TDs; 9 receptions for 70

Stefon Diggs: 6 games (5 starts), 38 receptions, 504 yards, 2 TDs; 3 rushes for 30 yards

Adam Thielen: 11 games (7 starts), 36 receptions, 426 yards, 2 TDs; 2 rushes for 8 yards

Kyle Rudolph: 15 games (14 starts), 61 receptions, 617 yards, 9 TDs


Everson Griffen: 18 games (11 starts), 45 tackles (league stats), 15 sacks, 16 TFL, 1 FF

Danielle Hunter: 8 games (5 starts), 24 tackles (league stats), 8.0 sacks, 9 TFL, 2 FR; returned fumble recovery 32 yards for TD


Kirk Cousins: highest passer rating as a member of the Vikings (141.4) after completing 24 of 34 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns at Detroit on Oct. 20, 2019

Dalvin Cook: 100 or more scrimmage yards in three games against the Lions

Stefon Diggs: first career TD at Detroit on Oct. 25, 2015, when he totaled six catches for 108 yards

Kyle Rudolph: career-high 122 receiving yards and 2 TDs at Detroit on Dec. 23, 2018

Danielle Hunter: career-high 3.5 sacks and 32-yard return of fumble for TD in Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2018

Everson Griffen: at least 1.0 sack in six consecutive games against the Lions

Eric Kendricks: 2.0 sacks at Detroit on Oct. 25, 2015, on his way to finishing October as the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month


1. Sunday's game will be the 117th meeting in the regular season between Minnesota and Detroit. The Vikings have claimed four wins in a row.

2. Minnesota set a team single-game record by sacking Matthew Stafford 10 times on Nov. 4, 2018.

3. Vikings Legends Scott Studwell set a single-game record for tackles (24 in 1985), and Sammy White posted a regular-season franchise record with 210 receiving yards in 1976.

4. Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter recorded his 1,000th career reception (on a 4-yard TD) against Detroit on Nov. 30, 2000.

Longest Vikings winning streak in series: 13 games (Oct. 6, 1968 through Sept. 22, 1974)

Longest Vikings losing streak in series: 5 games (Nov. 19, 1961 through Oct. 27, 1963)