The Vikings could be without Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder, but the Lions have their own injury concerns. Get the keys to the game, fast facts, series history and notes from both camps.
(9-3) at Cincinnati Bengals
(4-8) at Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
(9-3) at Washington Redskins
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(4-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs
(5-7) at New York Jets
New Orleans Saints
(9-3) at Tennessee Titans
(0-12) at Baltimore Ravens
(7-5) at Carolina Panthers
(2-10) at Detroit Lions
San Francisco 49ers
(10-2) at Arizona Cardinals
(7-5) at Denver Broncos
(5-7) at San Diego Chargers
(7-5) at Green Bay Packers
New York Giants
(6-6) at Dallas Cowboys
St. Louis Rams
(2-10) at Seattle Seahawks
Minnesota Vikings (2-10) at Detroit Lions (7-5)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
(ankle) might beg to play, but said he was only 80 percent on Friday and QB Christian Ponder
(hip) is also hurting. Both are questionable for Sunday's game. Lacking proven vertical threats, Minnesota is utilizing WR Percy Harvin
heavily on shorter routes.
The Lions erased a 20-point halftime deficit to win the Sept. 25 game at the Metrodome. QB Matthew Stafford's finger is almost healed, and attacking the Vikings' injury-ravaged secondary should come easily for an aggressive offense that rarely ticks down from attack mode. Detroit has been its own worst enemy with 30 penalties in the past three games.
The Vikings offense has scored 17 points or less in five of six road games. ... Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew
had 11 catches for 112 yards in the last meeting.
101st regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 66-32-2. The Vikings are 30-19-1 in Detroit. The Vikings lost 26-23 in overtime at home on Sept. 25. They have not been swept by the Lions in a season since 1997.
The Vikings have a commanding 34-win advantage in this 100-game series. But they started out 0-5 in the early 1960s, including a 37-10 loss in the debut in 1961. Norm Van Brocklin (3-8-1) and current coach Leslie Frazier (0-2) are the only coaches in team history under .500 against Detroit. Mike Tice (8-0) is the only Vikings coach not to lose to the Lions.
Perhaps the oddest play in the 100-game history of the series came during Week 5 in 2008. That was the year the Lions became the only NFL team to finish 0-16. The Lions were pinned inside their 5-yard line when Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky rolled out to pass. Without realizing it, Orlovsky stepped out of the back of the end zone for a safety in a game the Lions lost by two. Orlovsky, who was being chased by defensive end Jared Allen, took six steps outside of the end zone before realizing what had happened. He was confused initially when he heard the whistle. "And then I looked down and I was like, 'You're an idiot.'"
Vikings players have avoided pointing fingers at each other during what's become the worst start in franchise history. At least not directly. But after Sunday's 35-32 loss, there was some obvious frustration with a depleted secondary that was confused, overmatched and providing the aerially-challenged Tim Tebow giant passing windows to throw through during the second half.
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams gave credit when asked about Tebow completing 6-of-9 second-half passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. But he also made note of how open the receivers were, looking at reporters and saying, "Shoot, some of you guys could have hit those receivers."
The Vikings have never been 2-10 after 12 games. They were 2-9 in 1961, their expansion season, but crushed the Rams 42-21 in Week 12. In 1962, they were 2-9-1 en route to a 2-11-1 season. That's the fewest wins and worst winning percentage in franchise history. The record for losses in a season came in 1984 when the team went 3-13 in Les Steckel's only year.
Certainly, this year's players, many of whom were around for the NFC Championship Game just two seasons ago, aren't used to what's going on. But the shock of the season has worn off, leaving players with little to say and reporters with little to ask the players.
That was evident when defensive end Jared Allen walked through the locker room on Monday, a day after the Vikings fell to 2-10. "I don't know what else there is to say, guys," said Allen, one of the biggest stars and on the team.
Allen went on his way with little defense put forth by reporters, one of whom said, "That's OK, we don't know what else there is to ask."
In 100 meetings, there has only been two overtime games. The Lions have won both. They won 20-17 in 2007. And they won 26-23 after trailing 20-0 at halftime on Sept. 25 of this season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9 – Number of different starting defensive back combinations this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I have enough issues here to fix rather than worrying about fixing someone else's issues." – Ccoach Leslie Frazier, when asked if he has any empathy for what Lions coach Jim Schwartz is dealing with when it comes to the number of dumb penalties the Lions have had in recent weeks.
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley was walking around the practice facility Wednesday with a protective boot on his injured left foot – not an encouraging sight – and was listed as questionable on Friday. Coach Jim Schwartz said that wasn't an indication of any damage beyond what x-rays showed after the game Sunday – no new fractures.
"He was available to finish that game but he wasn't able to," Schwartz said. "He was available, but he was too sore and not moving very well. We'll see how it goes through this week. Like we said, the x-rays looked good and he was playing very well in that first quarter."
Fairley's rookie season has been stunted by the broken foot he sustained early in training camp. It's been nearly four months since the surgery and it's still causing him pain. Schwartz was asked if he thought Fairley would require more surgery on the foot after the season. "I don't think that's on our radar," he said.
Schwartz, in a sense, defended troubled DT Ndamukong Suh this week, saying he felt there was too much of a "microscope" on him. Suh, who will serve the second game of his two-game suspension Sunday, was involved in a single-car automobile accident earlier this week in his hometown of Portland, Ore. There were no serious injuries and he was not ticketed. Police have closed the case. "We just worry about him on the field," Schwartz told a local radio station. "Ndamukong is a hard-working guy; he hasn't had any kind of issues with the law, including this one. Let's worry about him on the field and those things, get him back playing well."
Last week the Saints covered WR Calvin Johnson like he was a gunner on a punt coverage team. They pressed him with two defensive backs at the line of scrimmage. Schwartz said the Lions need to continue to make defenses pay for that kind of attention. "I think everybody from the beginning has keyed on Calvin Johnson; he is hard to hide," Schwartz said. "Particularly in the New Orleans game this week, they tried their very best to double him on every single play. He still made his plays, but we also had production out of a lot of other guys -- we got a lot of catches out of a lot of different guys. It opened up a lot of stuff underneath. I don't know if you noticed some of the screen passes, the check downs, there was a lot of room in there because of Calvin Johnson and the respect that they had for him. Again that is something we deal with every week and there is a fine line of getting him the ball and also making throws that don't make sense."
BY THE NUMBERS: 14.5 – Sacks by Vikings DE Jared Allen.
13 – Sacks by Lions starting defensive ends.