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Early Look: Vikings Aim for Season Sweep of Lions

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

EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings (5-6) are scheduled to close out their annual series with the Lions (0-10-1) in Detroit on Sunday.

Minnesota was shorthanded on defense but grinded before falling 34-26 at San Francisco in the 10th Vikings contest this season decided by one score.

Detroit took Chicago to the wire on Thanksgiving but lost 16-14, dropping its third game this season on a field goal as time expired (Baltimore in Week 3 and at Minnesota in Week 5 were the other two games).

The Lions also tied the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 10, finishing knotted at 16 on a day when Detroit missed an extra point in regulation and a 48-yard field goal in overtime.

Here's an Early Look at the Vikings Week 13 game against the Lions, presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Official LASIK partner of the Minnesota Vikings.


2 in 5 games

Rookie Kene Nwangwu became the first player since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in just five career games.

Remarkably, Nwangwu is the sixth player — and third Viking — to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a player's first seven games:

Nwangwu, five games, Vikings

Jerome Mathis, six games, Texans

Brandon Tate, six games, Patriots

Cordarrelle Patterson, seven games, Vikings

Percy Harvin, seven games, Vikings

Darrick Vaughn, seven games, Falcons


Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes Sunday to set a franchise record for consecutive games (25) with at least one touchdown pass. He topped 24 by Daunte Culpepper and has the longest active streak in the NFL.

Justin Jefferson eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season, becoming the eighth player in franchise history to have multiple seasons with 1,000 receiving yards. He also joined Randy Moss as the only two Vikings players to surpass the total in each of their first two NFL seasons.

Jefferson totaled 464 receiving yards in November, the third-highest tally for that month in franchise history. Only Moss (510 in 2000 and 473 in 1998) has ever recorded more.

Adam Thielen recorded his 48th and 49th career touchdown catches, moving into fifth on the team leaderboard. He can tie Sammy White for fourth with his next touchdown reception.

Thielen tied White with his eighth career multi-touchdown game, which is tied for third in team history.

He also is the fourth undrafted player in league history to catch 10-plus touchdowns in multiple seasons, joining Antonio Gates, Stephone Paige and Rod Smith.

Harrison Smith recorded his 29th career interception, moving into a tie with Carl Lee for sixth in franchise history. He leads all safeties since 2012 when he entered the NFL.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.


Head Coach: Dan Campbell, 1st season with Lions (0-10-1 in regular season)

Jared Goff has completed 241 of 358 passes for 2,280 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. His passer rating of 87.0 ranks 24th, and he's tied for 30th in the NFL with an average of 6.4 yards per completion.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson leads Detroit with 57 catches, 534 yards and three scores through the air.

D'Andre Swift has added 56 catches for 429 yards and two scores, in addition to leading the Lions with 555 rushing yards and four scores on 140 carries.

Former Packer Jamaal Williams has 388 yards and two touchdowns on 93 carries.

Detroit has scored 19 touchdowns (nine rushing, 10 receiving) and allowed 31 (11 rushing, 18 receiving, 2 returns).

The Lions have recorded 16 sacks, including 4.0 by Charles Harris, and allowed 27.

Amani Oruwariye has recorded five of Detroit's eight interceptions this season.

Kalif Raymond ranks third in the NFL among qualifiers with an average of 12.3 yards per punt return.



Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman is brothers with Lions Special Assistant to Chairman and President & CEO Chris Spielman. The Spielman brothers spent the 1988 training camp as Lions linebackers. While Chris went on to play with Detroit, Rick got his start as a college scout for the Lions from 1990-96.


Detroit TE Shane Zylstra spent the 2021 training camp with the Vikings.

Lions Senior Defensive Assistant Dom Capers served in the same role with Minnesota in 2020.

Lions offensive line coach Hank Fraley was the assistant offensive line coach for the Vikings from 2014-16.


Lions TE Shane Zylstra is from Spicer, Minnesota.

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins played high school football in Holland, Michigan.

Minnesota WR K.J. Osborn (Ypsilanti), WR Triston Jackson (West Bloomfield), DE Kenny Willekes (Rockford) and TE Tyler Conklin (Chesterfield) are from Michigan. Conklin attended Central Michigan.


Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell and Lions Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn played for the Cowboys while Mike Zimmer was the defensive coordinator. Lions Offensive Coordinator Anthony Lynn also coached in Dallas with Zimmer.

Lions quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell and Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell were teammates in Jacksonville from 1996-2001.


Vikings CB Bashaud Breeland and Lions WR Geronimo Allison in Green Bay during the 2017 season

Vikings LB Ryan Connelly and Lions C Evan Brown with the Giants in 2019

Minnesota DT Sheldon Richardson and Brown with the Browns in 2020

Breeland and Lions P Jack Fox in Kansas City in 2019

Richardson, Vikings G Dakota Dozier and Lions WR Kalif Raymond with the Jets in 2017 before Raymond went to the Giants and became teammates with Vikings DT Dalvin Tomlinson

Vikings CB Tye Smith and Raymond at Tennessee from 2018-20. Minnesota K Greg Joseph overlapped with Smith and Raymond in Tennessee in 2019.

Breeland and Detroit RB Jamaal Williams with the Packers in 2018

Minnesota CB Parry Nickerson and Williams with the Packers in 2020


Vikings CB Patrick Peterson with Lions DL Michael Brockers at LSU in 2010

Minnesota WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette with Detroit TE T.J. Hockenson at Iowa from 2017-19

Vikings LB Troy Dye with Lions T Penei Sewell at Oregon from 2018-19




Kirk Cousins: 8 games (1 with Washington, 7 with Minnesota), 7-1 as a starter and 7-0 with Minnesota; 183-of-247 passing, 74.1 completion percentage, 2,198 passing yards, 17 TDs, 2 INT, 120.5 passer rating

Dalvin Cook: 6 games; 104 rushes for 638 yards and 6 TDs; 13 receptions for 129 yards

Alexander Mattison: 5 games; 79 rushes for 341 yards and 1 TD; 12 receptions for 108 yards and 2 TDs

Adam Thielen: 14 games; 44 receptions for 561 yards and 2 TDs


Eric Kendricks: 10 games; 65 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 2 INT

Harrison Smith: 19 games; 125 tackles, 1.0 sack, 3 INT, 1 FR, 1 FF, 10 passes defended

(tackles are league stats)


Cousins: 24-of-34 passing for 338 yards and 4 TDs (passer rating of 141.5) at Detroit on Oct. 20, 2019

Mattison: career-high 113 yards on 25 rushes and 7 catches for 40 yards and a TD in Minnesota on Oct. 10, 2021

Justin Jefferson: 124 yards on 7 catches (17.7 per reception) in Minnesota on Oct. 10, 2021

Kendricks: 6 tackles, 3 TFL, 2.0 sacks at Detroit on Oct. 25, 2015

Smith: 9 tackles, 1 INT at Detroit on Jan. 3, 2021


1. The Vikings have a 79-39-2 record against the Lions, a series that began in Minnesota's inaugural 1961 season.

2. Minnesota set a franchise record with 10 sacks in one game on Nov. 4, 2018.

3. WR Cris Carter recorded his 1,000th career reception against Detroit on Nov. 30, 2000, becoming the second player in NFL history with that many catches on a 4-yard pass by Daunte Culpepper.

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

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