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Vikings Motivated Vs. Lions Amidst Short Week

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — It was just over 48 hours ago that the Vikings were celebrating the end of a four-game skid with a 30-24 win over Arizona.

Minnesota's next game will be done and over with in 48 hours, too.

With a Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions on tap, this is the shortest of weeks for the Vikings. Players and coaches are doing anything and everything they can to cram a week's worth of game-planning and healing into a few days.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer knows there are challenges.

"Part of it is preparation, obviously, you have a short window," Zimmer said. "Part of it is getting the guys the recovery phase of the game from Sunday, the rehab situations. Really, there's a lot, game-planning, everything."

With both Minnesota and Detroit having played Sunday, Zimmer's players know that Thursday's showdown in the Motor City will be a battle of wills.

"When you really only have three days to prepare for a game, it's tough on, obviously, both teams, and I think that's just when you've kind of got to rely on things that you've done well, things that you're comfortable with, things that everyone in the offensive room feels like give us a chance to succeed," said Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford. "Mentally, physically, it's a little bit of a challenge, though. 

"You've just got to do the best that you can to make sure that you're watching all the tape, that you're prepared as much as a normal week as you can make it," he added. "And then, trying to get yourself physically back to a level where you feel comfortable to go out there and play another game."

Added left guard Alex Boone: "This brings out the toughness in teams, and you see what teams are made of."

Thursday's NFC North tilt is more than a game between division foes. The game will be on national television at 11:30 a.m. (CT) so the eyeballs of America will be on the teams as people settle in for their first plate of turkey.

And with both teams at 6-4, first place in the division is on the line.

"It's going to be a fun game, it's for the [lead in the] division," Boone said. "It's on Thanksgiving, what better could you ask for? Games like this kind of make it fun,"

Said Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes: "We know what this game is for, but at the same time we just have to go play ball and give it all we've got."

Besides grabbing the division lead, memories of Minnesota's 26-20 loss to the Lions on Nov. 6 could be extra motivation for the Vikings.

Minnesota grabbed a 16-13 lead with less than 30 seconds left, only to watch the Lions send the game into overtime on a 58-yard field goal as time expired. Detroit then won in the extra period on a 28-yard touchdown pass.

The bitter defeat dropped the Vikings to 5-3 at the time and put their NFC North record at 1-2.

"I think we're excited about the opportunity especially after the way the game ended a couple of weeks ago against Detroit," Bradford said. "I think we're all anxious to get back out there."

The Vikings are 71-37-2 all-time against the Lions, with every game coming in the regular season. The 71 wins are the most victories the Vikings have against one opponent in franchise history.

A Vikings win on Thursday would erase the bitter taste of the defeat from earlier this month and make the hectic short week worth their while.

"We all know each other and know each other well," Rhodes said. "We play each other twice a year, so it's going to be a battle. We just have to go out there and fight."

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