Vikings-Lions game plan

The Lions are a much-improved team and on a three-game winning streak, but the Vikings' biggest challenge could be recovering physically on a short week.


The Vikings are playing out the string on the season and will be in action for the second time in five days. That's not exactly a recipe for success.

Minnesota has traditionally had great success against the Lions but that's because the Vikings have often been the superior team. That's not the case this season and Detroit will have plenty of motivation since it can avoid a last-place finish in the division with a victory.

The X-factor is whether Brett Favre will attempt to play in this game - one he has said will be his last in the NFL after 20 seasons. Favre missed last Tuesday's night's game in Philadelphia because of a concussion.

If Favre doesn't go, rookie Joe Webb will be expected to start his second game after he made his debut as a starter last Tuesday against the Eagles.

Running back Adrian Peterson could carry the load against Detroit, but he has been battling a bruised knee and thigh and the Vikings aren't going to take any chances with their prized player.

The offensive line also has its issues with starting guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera long ago done for the season.

Defensively, the Vikings have been far from their best of late.

The Lions could look to jump on the Vikings early and take away their will. That seems to have worked against a team that has come to expect everything to go wrong.


The Lions haven't gotten many breaks this season, but they were certainly handed a gift this week. Because of a weather delay in Philadelphia, the Vikings didn't play the Eagles until Tuesday, which means they will come to Detroit with just three days of preparation. That should be a huge physical advantage for the Lions.

Offensively, the Lions are going to have to prove to the Vikings they can throw the ball downfield. Calvin Johnson has a bad ankle and Shaun Hill is playing with four fingers. The Vikings will load up against the run until the Lions force them out of it.

Defensively, Detroit is preparing two distinctly different game plans — depending on who starts at quarterback. Strange as it sounds, they'd probably rather face the stationary Brett Favre than the mobile Joe Webb.


Vikings C John Sullivan vs. Lions DT Ndamukong Suh. The Vikings' center will be in for an extremely tough matchup against the rookie standout. Suh has nine sacks this season and could make life miserable for Brett Favre if the veteran quarterback tries to play in this game as his swan song. At least rookie quarterback Joe Webb would have the speed to get away from Suh if necessary. It remains to be seen if Sullivan is the Vikings' long-term answer at center, but whoever plays that position will be dealing with Suh for many years to come. Suh will be looking to get two sacks and establish a rookie record. He has nine and needs to 1.5 sacks to tie Dana Stubblefield's record.

Vikings CB Asher Allen vs. Lions WR Calvin Johnson. Getting Johnson matched up on Allen could be a nightmare for the Vikings and will mandate that they give Allen some safety help. Johnson is 6-5, 236 pounds and Allen is 5-9, 194 pounds. Johnson had six receptions for 56 yards against the Vikings in Week 3 but that came with Cedric Griffin and rookie Chris Cook healthy. Both are lost for the season, meaning Johnson has a much bigger edge against the Vikings' secondary now.

Lions MLB DeAndre Levy vs. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson. Levy tried to play through a groin injury when the teams met in Week 3, and the results were disastrous. Levy was ineffective, and Peterson ran wild (160 yards, two touchdowns). Peterson should find the going much tougher this time. Levy has been outstanding, making 59 tackles in the last nine games. Peterson, though, has owned the Lions, averaging 131 yards with eight touchdowns in seven games.

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