Detroit Lions (1-3) vs Minnesota Vikings (0-4)
Metrodome-- Minneapolis, Minnesota 1:00pm EST
(DETROIT, MI)-- Don't look now, but with a win in Minneapolis on Sunday, the Detroit Lions have a chance to put together their first winning streak since the Gary Moeller regime. The Lions, behind Joey Harrington, are gaining confidence and momentum. To a man, the veterans in the locker room believe in the Lions' rookie quarterback. They feel they have a chance to win games that before they would lose.
Lions' oft-injured receiver Bill Schroeder commented after his seven-catch, 78 yard performance on Harrington, "He deserves so much more credit than he's getting. He's one of those guys that's going to work as hard as he can. Remember we were down by two and a half touchdowns last week [against Green Bay] and he wouldn't quit. He keeps bringing up this team and that's what a team leader needs to do. That's why he's in there doing what he's doing."
Harrington delivered a great coming out performance in willing Detroit to a 26-21 win, releaving pressure from the entire franchise and gaining allies in the Lions locker room. Can Harrington do it again? More importantly, can the Lions win on the road? They couldn't have picked a better team to take on.
Minnesota is in total disarray. Their best player is facing charges that could warrant a suspension from the league. Their first round draft pick is contemplating sitting out the season. Their quarterback is going through a third-year slump. They have a rookie head coach going through much of the same growing pains as Lions' head coach Marty Mornhinweg did last season and the owner is contemplating selling the team.
Making matters worse, Minnesota's weak secondary has gotten even more feeble. The Vikings, in a desperation move, worked out six defensive backs last week. Minnesota auditioned George Coghill, Shad Criss, Marcus Floyd, Lloyd Harrison, Perry Phenix and Jason Perry.
The linebacking corps isn't in much better shape. Injuries to Henri Crockett and Lemanski Hall have the Vikings struggling to assemble a unit to face Detroit. The Vikings have juggled several players in and out of the unit including Jim Nelson, Antonio Wilson, Patrick Chukwurah and rookie Nick Rogers.
With the defensive unit in disarray, the Lions have an opportunity to exploit the Vikings deficiencies. Minnesota ranks 26th in the NFL in pass defense and 19th against the rush. The problem for Detroit is getting healthy. Detroit entire receiving corps is banged up including starters Az-Zahir Hakim, Bill Schroeder, reserves Eddie Drummond and Larry Foster and tight end Mikhael Ricks.
The bye week couldn't have come at a better time for the Lions.