Minnesota Vikings Week 9 Preview: Detroit Lions

The Minnesota Vikings come off of a gritty 28-22 win over the Green Bay Packers that bumped the team’s record to 2-5. The Detroit Lions took a beating at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, 41-21, dropping their record to 3-4.


Photo Credit: DetroitLions.com

DETROIT LIONS

Detroit got off to a quick start when, after a blocked punt, Marvin Jones caught a 25-yard pass from Matthew Stafford for a 7-0 lead.

A Phillip Rivers to Nyheim Hynes 22-yard touchdown pass knotted the game at seven.

The Colts took a 14-7 lead on their next possession when Rivers found Jack Doyle for a seven-yard score. The drive was kept alive by a roughing-the-passer penalty. Indianapolis would close out the first half scoring on Rivers’ third touchdown pass of the first half, this one to Hynes from 29 yards out.

Detroit would cut the lead to 20-14 on the first drive of the second half. Stafford was 5-of-6 on the drive for 66 yards and a touchdown pass to Kerryon Johnson. Stafford would fumble later in the third to end a Lions’ drive.

The Colts would move 60 yards, culminating in a Jordan Wilkins one-yard touchdown plunge and two-point conversion to give them a 28-14 lead.

On the first play from scrimmage after the touchdown, Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II would have a 29-yard pick-six to increase the lead to 35-14.

The Lions were down but not quite yet out. On a 3rd-and-16, Stafford found Marvin Hall for a 73-yard gain. The drive would end with a four-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, and the lead was now 35-21. The momentum was short-lived, as Indianapolis would go on a 12-play, 73-yard drive capped by a Trey Burton two-yard touchdown run. It would be the final score of the game in the 41-21 loss.

Stafford would complete 24-of-42 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns, but he also had that critical pick-six. Jamal Agnew would lead the Lions on the ground with a mere 11 yards rushing. As a team, Detroit would have only 29 yards on 13 carries. Hall led all receivers with 113 yards on four catches. T.J. Hockenson would add 65 yards on seven catches.

On defense, the Lions would allow 119 rushing yards on 39 carries. Wilkins would lead the way with 89 of those yards on 20 carries. Rivers put up 262 yards and three touchdowns in completing 23 of his 33 passes. Hynes was the top Colts’ receiver with 54 yards and two touchdowns on three catches.


Photo Credit: MinnesotaVikings.com

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The Vikings are fresh off of a 28-22 victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field. The game was back-and-forth during the first half, with each team scoring two touchdowns on time-consuming drives.

The Vikings would score on the team’s first drive of the second half and added a touchdown on an electrifying 50-yard screen pass from Kirk Cousins to Dalvin Cook. Aaron Rodgers would lead the Packers to a touchdown and two-point conversion late in the fourth, but a last-gasp Hail Mary attempt was thwarted on a D.J. Wonnum strip-sack on the game’s final play.

Cousins would finish the game 11-of-14 for 160 yards and a touchdown on a day where the passing game was hindered by wind conditions. Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson would combine for just six catches and 53 yards. The story of this one was Dalvin Cook; he would carry the ball 30 times for 163 yards and three scores, adding 63 receiving yards and a touchdown. A scrappy Vikings defense was led by Eric Kendricks, who had 12 tackles (eight solo); and Harrison Smith, who added eight tackles (five solo).

Rodgers completed 27 of his 41 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns. Jamaal Williams rushed for 75 yards on 16 carries in a fill-in role, as Aaron Jones missed the game with a calf injury. Robert Tonyan was the game’s top receiver with 79 yards on five catches. Davante Adams had just 53 yards on seven catches, but three of those went for touchdowns.


Photo Credit: Vikings.com

PREDICTION

Just when I think I’m out, the Vikings drag me back in.

A team that looked lost and listless after its game against the Falcons, and who traded away its best active defensive end in Yannick Ngakoue, came out and fought hard for 60 minutes against Green Bay.

The win did not come without cost, as rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler suffered a neck injury. The Vikings’ secondary was already thin and it’s now even thinner. At one point, Adam Thielen said he would have gone in on defense if necessary.

Matthew Stafford can be scary good. He’s one of the best quarterbacks you don’t really hear about. The wind won’t be a factor with this one being indoors, and that could work against the Vikings and that depleted secondary.

The Lions’ running game is a different story. They haven’t had a consistent running back since Barry Sanders, and this season is no different. The key will be the same as it was against the Packers: keep the beat-up Vikings defense on the sidelines by running Dalvin Cook. With the Minnesota offensive line seemingly coming together, I think they can pull it off but it won’t be easy.

This one may come down to a final possession — let’s just hope that possession ends in a Kirk Cousins kneel-down.

I’m taking the Vikings in this one, 31-27.

(Featured Image Credit: Vikings.com)

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