This week our 2-1 Minnesota Vikings are home again at U.S. Bank Stadium against our NFC North rival the Detroit Lions. After last years losses to Detroit you can bet a different attitude is directed towards this game. Last year the Vikes suffered two painful losses being only 28 seconds away from winning the home game, and the disappointing Thanksgiving game at Detroit. Let’s take a look at where each team is currently and what the key matchups are to avoid recent woes against the Lions.
Although we are only three weeks into the season, a look at where the two offense are ranked may provide some insight. The Vikings overall offense sits at 2nd in the league with average of 400 yards a game. Much of that is due to it’s passing game (3rd best), however an 11th ranked running game is impressing as well. So far early on its a huge improvement from last year.
Meanwhile Detroit is ranked overall at 17th (315 yards a game) with the 19th ranked passing offense and the 17th best run game. , its still early but this will truly be our toughest test so far. Defensively Vikes are ranked 3rd giving up less then 200 a game in total yards. Matthew Stafford looks even more comfortable this year running the Cooter offensive attack. Their only real weakness is the left tackle and left guard positions early on for their O-line.
Defensively much has remained the same for Minnesota from last year. Rushing Defense has improved, and Passing Defense is still elite. Detroit’s Defense is solidly a borderline top 10 Defense.
Keys To The Game.
Bradford has already been ruled out which plays significantly into the how this game plays out. So here are my 3 takes on how the Vikings can beat the Lions at home this week.
First off our Defense must keep Stafford in the pocket a lot like we try to do with Aaron Rodgers. A lot of fans have been asking were is Danielle Hunter? A lot of fans have been wondering whether veteran Brian Robison has been getting slow and not able to rush the passer like he used to. Not necessarily true, its what Zimmer wants at the right defensive end position. It shuts down the running lanes for the running attack, and also doesn’t allow the passer to roll out to his right. It’s a kind of a stay at home position in Zimmer’s scheme. So keep Stafford in the pocket and show the Double A gap blitz. A lot. Along with taking advantage of their LAZY left tackle Greg Robinson – according to Everson Griffen. Do this, and it will help keep our Defense off the field as it will most likely be a 60% pass to a 40% run play calling.
Second key to the game is to keep feeding the Cook. This Lions squad I feel has a solid secondary so creep them back with a good run game that incorporates play action. If we can get a solid run game going early it will allow wide receiver Stefon Diggs to get free off of Detroit’s best corner in Slay. Running game keeps the unpredictability in play calling, and can allow Case to sling it for two weeks in a row. I feel Case is due for at least a 275 yard game.
My third key, utilize our tight ends as their linebackers are weak in pass coverage. With Sam Bradford out this week (and potentially for weeks) we need Kyle Rudolph to get on board with Case. Their LB’s are good in the running game, but if we can get the Play Action going should see wide open looks in the middle of the field.
Final stat line Case Keenum 295 yards 2 touchdowns, Cook 115 yards rushing 1 touchdown along with one receiving, and Rudy gets a touchdown also. Wide Receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs will have a combined total of 175 yards receiving. I Just think Detroit’s Secondary holds our top 2 WR’s out of the end zone this week. Final score 24-13 Vikings.