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Week 10 Preview: Detroit Lions at Vikings
The Vikings have been sliding lately, but are the Lions the cure for what ails them? For the second and final time this season the Vikings will square off against the Detroit Lions. Since their previous meeting in week 4, the Lions have won 3 of 4 games, whereas the Vikings have lost 3 of 5. Historically, the Vikings have been extremely good against the Lions. Except for last year, in which they were swept by Detroit, they've won 16 of the last 18 games they've played against the Lions in the past decade. History is certainly on their side, but unfortunately for them, that doesn't matter in this game. Today's game will determine who will be holding onto last place in the division. If the Vikings win, they'll still be very much in the wild card mix. If they lose, they'll fall into the basement of the NFC North and will likely see their playoff hopes vanish. If they have any chance of making the playoffs, they're going to have to win today, because it isn't getting easier anytime soon. After the bye, the Vikings will play Chicago, Green Bay, and Chicago in a very challenging stretch. The team will be awfully thankful for the rest that the bye will provide, but they will need to get past the Lions first. Here's what we'll be looking for today.
No Percy Harvin... No Passing Game?
Wide Receiver Percy Harvin has accounted for more than a third of Christian Ponder's passing yards this season. Often times, the passing game seems to have been focused entirely on Harvin. That said, the last time these two teams met, Harvin only accounted for 22 yards through the air. He did, however, return the opening kickoff for a touchdown. With Percy out with an ankle injury, Ponder is going to have to find other wide receivers if the Vikings are going to have any chance to win this game. Rookie Jarius Wright will likely be active for the first time all season. Ponder will be turning his attention to the likes of Jerome Simpson(who has said this week that he's healthy), Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, and Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph has been struggling as of late, but with no Ponder in the lineup, we'd imagine he'll be more of a focus this week. Ponder's been having issues finding receivers lately, so we're curious to see if he can find any not named Percy Harvin this week.
Adrian Peterson, Lion Hunter
Adrian Peterson has been on absolute fire the past few games, and he's coming off one of the more impressive stretches of his career. Over the past three games, he's averaged 152 yards per game on over 8.5 yards per carry and has and scored at least one touchdown per game. Awfully impressive for a guy who's coming off major knee surgery, but you've already heard that once or twice. Smart money says that the Vikings, without the aforementioned Percy Harvin, will likely be focusing on the running game this week. It would make sense, considering Peterson's history against the Lions. In 10 career games, he's run for 994 yards and 8 touchdowns, and topped 100 yards 6 times. He's averaged 5.24 yards per carry against the Lions in his career. It's fair to say he has their number. If the Vikings have any chance of winning, he's probably going to have to have another one of those season-defining games. With the roll he's been on lately, it's hard to bet against him. We'll be looking to see what he can do.
Vikings Defense Vs. Matthew Stafford
Since falling against the Vikings, Matthew Stafford has thrown for 302 yards per game with 5 touchdowns against 3 interceptions in 173 attempts. He's helped lead the Lions to an average of 23 points per game and a 3-1 record since the bye. The last time these two teams met, the Vikings secondary allowed Stafford to throw for 319 yards, but held he and the Lions offense to only 13 points. Part of that was due to the physical nature of the Vikings defense. Rookie Harrison Smith helped dislodge a sure touchdown from Calvin Johnson in the endzone, and Chad Greenway also leveled Johnson on a crossing route. Greenway was penalized for his hard hit, but that physicality helped keep the Lions in check. With Nate Burleson out, Stafford has fewer reliable targets to throw to, but he generally does a nice job of finding the open wide receivers. Matthew Stafford has been sacked 15 times in 9 games, and 5 of those came against the Vikings earlier this season. We're curious to see if they can keep Stafford off balance at home, as the outcome of the game might rely upon it.
Today's game against the Lions kicks off from Mall of America Field here in the Twin Cities at noon on the FAN. Paul Allen and Pete Bercich will handle the call on 100.3FM here in the Twin Cities and across the Vikings Radio Network.
Check out the graphic to the left. It was created by "alldaybaby", a regular in Purple Chat. Check out the other submissions in this week's competition on Purple Chat. Have a fresh idea for next week's game? Pay attention to Purple Chat for next week's Gameday Graphic thread. Did we miss out on a major plot line for today's game? Tell us below or on Purple Chat.
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This article was written by jab. You can normally find him meandering around Rube Chat. Or feel free to email him at email@example.com.