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Opposing Viewpoint: 5 Questions (and Answers) About Lions

The Vikings and Lions will meet for their 118th all-time meeting Sunday, with Minnesota looking to extend a five-game win streak over Detroit.

The Vikings want to stay true to their offensive identity in running the ball, while Minnesota's defense is always looking from progress from its young secondary.

But what are some key storylines from the other side?

To find that out, chatted with Lions reporter Tori Petry for a glance at what Detroit is thinking before Sunday's game.

Here is the Week 9 edition of Opposing Viewpoint:

It's Week 9, and the Vikings are just seeing the Lions for the first time this season. With Detroit at 3-4, sum up how the season's first seven games have gone for Matt Patricia's squad.

TP: The Lions definitely feel like they should have had a few more wins than they have so far this season. That first game against the Bears, Matthew Stafford threw what would have been the game-winning touchdown pass to D'Andre Swift [on the final drive], but it slipped through the rookie's hands and the Bears ended up winning.

Then you look at other games where the Lions had leads but let games slip away. That's happened several times this season. You look at games against the Packers, Colts and Saints and it looks like it might have gotten out of hand, but really, the Lions were in those games. But at the end of the day, it's about who scores the most points, and the Lions have been on the losing end of four of those games. The three wins have come on the road, so the team has struggled at home.

The Vikings will see a few familiar faces Sunday in Adrian Peterson and Everson Griffen. Minnesota has gone against Peterson in the past, but this will be Griffen's Lions debut, and his first game against his former team. Why did the Lions trade for him, and what do they expect to get from the 32-year-old?

TP: He definitely got a whole lot more important to this roster when Trey Flowers went on Injured Reserve this week. The Lions added him to their defense because they needed to bolster their pass rush, which just wasn't getting home as much as they wanted it to. They went out and traded for someone who they felt could come in and impact that pass rush.

Lions fans know how impactful Everson Griffen can be. He sacked Stafford 16 times when he was with the Vikings, so Stafford is pretty happy to have him in his team now and not on the opposite side. So the expectation is that he can help out the pass rush, and without Trey Flowers, he becomes even more important. They hope he can take some attention away from Romeo Okwara, who's really come on in these past few games [with a team-high 5.0 sacks] to help free up him in the pass rush, as well. So, it will be interesting to watch him make his Lions debut against his former team.

Patricia said earlier this week that star wide receiver Kenny Golladay is "week-to-week" due to a hip injury. If he is unable to play, how will his absence affect Stafford and the Lions passing attack, and who is being looked at to step up in his place?

TP: That's a huge loss for the offense if he's not able to go. He missed the first couple games of the season with an injury as well, and the Lions certainly missed him. When he was able to make his debut, it was big. If he's out Sunday, that's definitely a disadvantage.

But, they do have some other explosive players. They've still got Marvin Jones, Jr., who will likely step up and take a big part of Kenny's workload if he can't go. Another guy to keep an eye on is Marvin Hall, who was known as the Lions deep-catch guy last year when he averaged 37.3 yards per catch [261 yards on seven catches], just because every catch he had was a deep pass. He's worked on more of those intermediate routes this year, so he could see a bigger role.

Another time to keep an eye on is former Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus. The rookie has been a healthy scratch these last few games, but I'd expect him to be active if Kenny is not out there.

Dalvin Cook is coming off the best game of his NFL career with 226 scrimmage yards and four total touchdowns. I imagine he's a big focus for the Lions this week, but what is the team saying about how they can slow down the Pro Bowl running back?

TP: That is going to be the Lions biggest challenge on Sunday. They really struggled to stop the run early in the season, as they gave up over 250 yards rushing to the Packers [in Week 2]. But they've been able to tighten up in that area a bit, and the games they've won are the games where they have stopped the run well.

They were able to limit Kyler Murray in Arizona and won that game. They were able to stop the Jaguars. And then against the Falcons, they limited Todd Gurley's damage — except for the one touchdown they gladly gave up. So the games where they have stopped the run, they've won.

That's going to be a huge focus this week when facing Cook, especially considering the damage he did against the Packers last week.

And finally, the Lions lost to the Colts last week but are 3-4 and about to face four straight teams — including the Vikings — who currently don't have winning records. How much belief is there that Detroit can go on a run and position itself for a playoff spot by the time December rolls around?

TP: This stretch of November games is crucial. Lions fans are looking at the schedule and see the Vikings and think, 'Hey, this is a winnable game for us.' But Vikings fans are also probably looking at the schedule against the Lions and thinking, 'Hey, this is a winnable game.'

The Lions certainly need to stay on top of things this week. And then you look at the schedule coming up against Washington, Carolina and Houston … so if the Lions can win these games in November, that sets them up for a good position to be in come December.

But their slate of December games is really tough [with the Bears, Packers, Titans, Buccaneers and the Vikings on Jan. 3]. So unless they are able to play strong in November, they might be in a tough spot come December.