Game time: 1 p.m. ET, Oct. 10, 2021
Venue: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Where to watch: FOX
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Vikings -7
BetMGM: Vikings -7.5
Caesars: Vikings -7.5
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Lions - Vikings preview and analysis
Lions: lost 24-14 at Bears in Week 4
Vikings: lost 14-7 vs. Browns in Week 4
The Dan Campbell Era has not produced a single kneecap biter to this point. Instead, his Detroit Lions are getting kicked in the kneecaps right now.
The Minnesota Vikings are putting on their steel-toed workboots and ready to break the whole kneecap. The Vikings host the Lions on Sunday in a matchup between two teams with very different trajectories.
Despite starting the season losing three of their first four games, the Vikings have actually been one of the better teams in terms of yardage output and scoring range. Minnesota has averaged 23.5 points per game, but consider the hit it took after scoring only seven points last week against the Cleveland Browns.
Kirk Cousins had gotten off to a strong start in the first three weeks, but couldn’t find a groove against the daunting Cleveland defense. Cousins threw his first interception of the year while also completing a shade over 50 percent of his passes for 203 yards.
Running back Dalvin Cook’s struggles continued Sunday with only nine carries for 34 yards. He’s somehow averaging 4.4 yards per carry even though it’s appeared Cousins has had to be a one-man show in some instances.
Justin Jefferson has continued where he left off in his superstar rookie season after a six-catch, 84-yard afternoon that included his third touchdown reception of the season. Minnesota was cooking with at least 27 points per game through the first three before running into the stout Browns defense. They did a great job holding Adam Thielen to only three receptions for 46 yards.
But that shouldn’t be an issue facing a Lions defense that has allowed almost 30 points per game through the first four weeks. You look for the Lions to actually take that next step and win a game, but there hasn’t been that level of consistency.
They rallied in Week 1 to almost shock the San Francisco 49ers, only to lose by three scores the next week against the Green Bay Packers. They lose on a 66-yard field goal to Justin Tucker against the Baltimore Ravens, only to get overwhelmed by the Chicago Bears’ defense last week. It’s a one-step-forward, two-step-back approach.
And it’s not saying Jared Goff has played horribly, but not good enough. Normally, when your top target is a tight end, and T.J. Hockenson is a good one, there’s more concern that the guys on the outside aren’t getting the job done. Hockenson is the top tight end in the NFC with 22 receptions and is second with 215 yards. But the offense has been held to under 20 points in three consecutive weeks.
You know who the Lions could use at quarterback? Matthew Stafford. I wonder if he’s available for the right price from the Los Angeles Rams.
Detroit’s offensive woes come at an awful time with how well Minnesota’s defense has played the last two weeks. The Vikings contained Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield well enough to hold them under 20 points. After a rough go against the Browns, the Vikings and head coach Mike Zimmer will bounce back offensively and put up four touchdowns on Detroit. Vikings by 14
The Lions are 4-12 outright in their last 16 road games.
Minnesota is 8-13 in its last 21 against the spread as a favorite, but 14-7 straight up.
Players to watch
Lions: While Goff continues to search for a reliable outside threat, Quintez Cephus may have emerged as one last week. He had a team-high 83 yards last week, and in the last meeting against Minnesota, had 51 yards and a touchdown.
Vikings: Danielle Hunter continues to be a terror and is playing some of the best football of his career. The pass rusher has 11 sacks in nine career games against the Lions, and had three in the last meeting.
Passing: Jared Goff -- 1,100 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Jamaal Williams -- 187 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: T.J. Hockenson -- 215 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Amani Oruwariye -- 2 INT
Passing: Kirk Cousins -- 1,121 yards, 9 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Dalvin Cook -- 226 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Justin Jefferson -- 338 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Danielle Hunter -- 5 sacks
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