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Key to the Game – Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

det min


Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, Ford Field, Detroit

TV/radio: Fox/97.1

Line: Lions by 5

Series: Minnesota leads 68-33-2 (Minnesota 34-24, Nov. 11, 2012)

Did you know? The Vikings are the only NFC North team with a winning record against the Lions in Detroit (31-20-1).

The 2013 season begins today in earnest. Today we get to see Adrian Peterson actually tote the rock. Today we get to see if the offense, (particularly the receivers) are as improved as everyone seems to be saying. Today we see if this team misses Percy Harvin and Antoine Winfield as much as this writer thinks they will (well, Winfield at least!). It’s opening week and it’s on the road.

Let me start by saying that it’s hard enough to win on the road at any time. But on opening day this truth is maximized. But ready or not, here we go !

This week we highlight the following “Key to the game”:


1. Adrian Peterson vs. the Lions front seven: Realistically, this will actually be A.P. vs. the Lion’s front eight, as Detroit will be throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the Viking line to stop the reigning MVP.

Detroit has one of the best defensive lines in the league, starting with Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh, who form arguably the best defensive tackle tandem in the NFL.  In three seasons, Suh has 22 sacks, an impressive total particularly for a tackle while Fairley has been limited to 23 games in his first two seasons due to various injuries. However, when he was healthy in 2012, he had four sacks, six tackles for loss and two forced fumbles (Weeks 10-14) before ending the season on injured reserve (shoulder).

The guys in the middle are menacing, but the defensive ends are physically intimidating as well. Staring with first-round pick Ziggy Ansah, who should start on the right side Sunday despite suffering a concussion in practice two weeks ago, is 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds. Jason Jones, the starter on the left, is 6-5 and 280. Isreal Idonije will rotate in and get significant reps. He is listed 6-6 and 275, while Willie Young (6-5, 251) is the smallest of the group, and fourth-round pick Devin Taylor, who will see limited snaps, if any, is 6-8 and 267.

“That’s a very good defensive line, and I would not be surprised if they increased their sack numbers in 2013 at all,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.

Topping last year’s sack total isn’t a tall task for the Lions. In 2012, they had 34 sacks, 20th in the NFL. The Lions had 41 sacks in 2011, tied for 10th.

Vikes-NikeTheir biggest challenge will be to keep A.P. bottled up limiting his ability to get to the second level where he has made a living shreading defenses to the tune of 2097 yards. The winner of this Battle in the trenches will go along way toward winning the war today.



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4 Responses to “Key to the Game – Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions”

  1. SouthernVikesFan says:

    The key to next weeks game is to bench Ponder before we fall to far back early on. Ponder is no good!

  2. VikingsDude says:

    PONDER will never win us any games with his arm or smart decisions. There are a million excuses for Sundays loss against the lions. Ponder could step up when another part of the game isn’t doing well… He just doesn’t have it. Indecisive and a weak arm = Ponder

  3. Fisher says:

    I’ve been defending Ponder to all the nay-saying fickle fans I know that relentlessly cry to bench him. All of those fans missed having Ponder when the Vikings went to Green Bay in January. I still think Ponder could develop into something special, but Sunday was a rather bad showing to say the least. Cassell is no better than Ponder, which he proved rather strongly in the preseason, and he has less of a future no matter what. Benching Ponder is a stupid demand. He gets the reins this season unless things turn really bad for a while. Even then, losing sets the Vikings up for the draft. Beyond that, if Ponder can’t prove he’s who the Vikings should commit to in the future, then he needs playing time to develop and put up tape to have value in a trade.

    I can’t believe I’m thinking all of this, let alone typing it out. I’ve been defending Ponder for almost two years straight. Watching that loss Sunday felt like the floor was crumbling out. The development that should be there wasn’t. I just hope Ponder gets back some confidence and calm in the pocket, builds chemistry with Jennings and Patterson, and (above all) that they beat the damm Bears.


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