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Skinny Post: Vikings Return Home to Face Lions

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings will look to snap a two-game losing streak as they return home to face the Lions Sunday at noon (CT) at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota is 5-2 following road losses to Philadelphia and Chicago, but the Vikings still sit atop the NFC North.

They'll face a familiar division foe in Detroit, a team that is 4-4 and has won three of four games.

This will be the 110th all-time meeting between the franchises. The Vikings are 71-36-2 in their history against the Lions. 

On the airwaves: The game will be broadcast nationally by FOX. Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin will be on the call. The game also will be broadcast on KFAN 100.3-FM and across the Minnesota Vikings Radio Network by the team of Paul Allen, Pete Bercich, Greg Coleman and Ben Leber. There is also a national radio broadcast on ESPN Radio with Adam Admin, Bill Polian and Jeff Darlington calling the game.

Three things to watch:

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Offense under the microscopeEric Smith

All eyes will be on the Vikings offense Sunday, especially given the newsworthy week around Winter Park.

Pat Shurmur is now the interim offensive coordinator after Norv Turner resigned from the position Wednesday morning.

"I think the biggest thing is we have to keep our eye on the ball," Shurmur said Thursday. "We've got to put a plan together. Initially here, we have to put a plan together to go out and perform well against Detroit.

Minnesota's offense has scored just 20 points in its past two outings as quarterback Sam Bradford has been sacked 11 times during back-to-back losses.

If the Vikings are going to get back on track, a game against Detroit's defense might do the trick.

Opposing quarterbacks have completed 201 of 273 passes (73.6 percent) for 2,176 yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions for a 113.7 passer rating against the Lions.

View images of the key contributors on offense, defense and special teams for the Detroit Lions.

Tight end territoryLindsey Young

Opposing tight ends have proven to be a thorn in Detroit's side this season.

 In eight games, the Lions defense has allowed 50 receptions for 515 yards and eight touchdowns by tight ends.

The Redskins, whose starting tight end Jordan Reed was sidelined Week 7, are the only Lions opponent thus far who haven't managed to get a tight end into the end zone.  

In Kyle Rudolph's career with the Vikings, he has faced the Lions eight times and totaled 29 catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns.

Rudolph has shown a strong connection with Bradford since the quarterback started in Week 2, recording 27 catches and three touchdowns.

Sunday could be an opportunity for Bradford and Rudolph to have a breakout game in their first home stand since Oct. 9.

Drama in the fourth quarter?Craig Peters

After eight games, the Lions are minus-seven in points for vs. points against. Detroit has scored 183, and opponents have tallied 190.

Each of the Lions eight games has been decided by seven or fewer points, and Detroit as a one-point win and a one-point loss.

Matthew Stafford has executed a come-from-behind drive in each fourth quarter of all four wins by Detroit this season:

Week 1: Lions trail by one, go 50 yards on five plays in 33 seconds for a 43-yard field goal with four seconds left

Week 5: Lions trail by two, go 34 yards on seven plays in 1:06 for a 29-yard field goal with 1:28 left

Week 6: Lions trail by seven, go 84 yards on 13 plays in 8:07 for a tying touchdown with 6:02 left; and go 44 yards on nine plays in 3:37 for a 34-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining

Week 7: Lions trail by four, go 75 yards on six plays in 49 seconds for a touchdown with 16 seconds left

Despite back-to-back 10-point showings and double-digit losses on the road, Minnesota has outscored opponents 139 to 104 this season. The Vikings have only had one of their seven games decided by less than a touchdown (a 17-14 win over Green Bay in Week 2) and led 17-7 going into the fourth quarter.

Minnesota led just 12-10 in Week 1 going into the fourth quarter before pulling away from Tennessee and 16-10 at Carolina in Week 3 before outscoring the Panthers 6-0.

The Vikings built leads of 17-7 against the Giants and 24-6 against the Texans through three quarters, but trailed 18-3 and 20-3 at Philadelphia and Chicago, respectively, in the past two weeks. How will the Vikings respond if the game is close in the fourth quarter?

Substantial Stats

The Vikings gave up a season-worst 403 yards of total offense in Monday night's loss to the bears. But Minnesota's defense still ranks first in the NFL in points allowed per game (14.9) and is second in yards allowed per game (297.1). 

— Minnesota is a perfect 3-0 in home games this season and has outscored its opponents 72-37 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

— The Lions have three different players who have four touchdown receptions; Running back Theo Riddick and wide receivers Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin each have a quartet of scores. Rudolph leads Minnesota with three touchdown catches.

— Detroit quarterback Stafford has a passer rating of 103.4 through eight games, which ranked fourth in the NFL entering Week 9. Vikings quarterback Bradford is eighth with a passer rating of 98.2.

Quotable

"We're not satisfied with where we're at and definitely not satisfied with the way we played the last two games, but it's not the end of the world. The last thing we need to do is panic and think the sky is falling down." — Vikings defensive end Brian Robison on the Vikings mindset after two straight losses.

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*Worth a watch

Get hyped for Sunday's NFC North matchup against the Lions by watching this Game Preview Trailer video.

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