A week ago, fans of the Minnesota Vikings were stunned by the inactive announcement that defensive end Everson Griffen was ill. The team was perceived to have a Belichickian level of “need to know basis” type of follow-up – as if they intended to go so deep into the “unseen look” subterfuge as to try to deactivate Griffen to disguise the atomic debut of Danielle Hunter.
The NFL’s investigation into potential impropriety died like an October Minnesota mosquito on borrowed time. No tears were shed. Case closed.
Not so fast, my friend.
The availability of Adrian Peterson was downgraded Saturday because of an illness. Much like pectoral injuries have hung over the franchise like a dark cloud, mystery illnesses have become the new malady to infest the Vikings locker room.
The big question is whether Peterson will be anywhere close to the Peterson who has owned the Lions for years.
For a Lions fan base that knew what it was like to have a phenomenal running back – anyone who saw Barry Sanders live was fortunate – Peterson has begrudgingly earned Eight Mile respect.
In 13 meetings, Peterson has averaged 107 yards a game on the ground and is consistently good for a touchdown. That’s hard to replace. Few players in the history of the game have the sort of long-term ownership of a franchise as A.P. has in Detroit.
In a bad way, he’s part of the Motown sound.
We’re going to find out if the 14th chapter on this lengthy saga of post-Sanders Vikings run dominance against the Lions will continue today.
If the Vikings want to erase the Niners debacle, Chapter 14 needs to be a sequel worth watching.
VIKINGS-LIONS BY THE NUMBERS
- Because of the Vikings’ early bye week, many of their individual numbers and rankings are lower than others because most teams have yet to have their bye week, so most of their numbers reflect six games, not five like the Vikings have played.
- The Vikings have the 21st-ranked offense (6th rushing, 32nd passing) and the 13th-ranked defense (19th rushing, 14th passing).
- The Lions have the 12th-rank offense (32nd rushing, 5th passing) and the 27th-ranked defense (26th rushing, 22nd passing).
- Minnesota is averaging 306 yards of offense a game (180 passing, 126 rushing). Detroit is averaging 359 yards a game (292 passing, 67 rushing).
- Defensively, the Vikings are allowing 352 yards a game (240 passing, 112 rushing). The Lions are allowing 387 yards a game (266 passing, 121 rushing).
- The Vikings are tied for eighth in takeaway/giveaway ratio at plus-3 (nine takeaways, six giveaways). The Lions are dead last at minus-8 (10 takeaways, 18 giveaways).
- Only two teams have more than 12 giveaways – the Lions at 18 and Philadelphia at 14.
- Detroit is tied for seventh in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 10 of 15 possessions (67 percent). The Vikings are 24th at 47 percent (15 possessions, seven touchdowns.
- Minnesota’s defense is third in the red zone, allowing just six touchdowns on 15 opposing possessions (40 percent). Detroit is 17th at 57 percent (30 possessions, 17 touchdowns).
- No team has allowed more red zone possessions than Detroit. New Orleans is second-worst in possessions allowed (26) and four teams have allowed 15 touchdowns.
- Detroit is 14th in third-down offense at 40.2 percent (35 conversions on 75 attempts). The Vikings are 23rd at 35.4 percent (23 of 65). The league average is 39.1 percent.
- Defensively, Minnesota is 13th in third-down percentage, allowing conversions on 24 of 63 possessions (38.1 percent). The Lions are 25th at 41.7 percent (30 of 72).
- The Vikings haven’t had a 300-yard passing game or allowed a 300-yard passing game.
- Matthew Stafford has one 300-yard passing game. The Detroit defense has allowed three 300-yard passers.
- The Lions have two 100-yard receiving games – one from Calvin Johnson and one from Lance Moore. The Vikings have one from Stefon Diggs.
- Minnesota has allowed one 100-yard receiver. Detroit has allowed two.
- Adrian Peterson has two 100-yard rushing games. The Lions have just 399 rushing yards as a team through six games.
- The Vikings and Lions have both allowed two 100-yard rushers. One of Detroit’s was Peterson in Week 2.
- Stafford is tied for fourth in pass attempts (237), fourth in completions (153), 15th in completion percentage (64.6), eighth in passing yards (1,410), eighth in touchdowns (10), tied for 32nd in interceptions (9) and 24th in passer rating (82.4).
- Teddy Bridgewater is 28th in attempts (146), 26th in completions (94), 16th in completion percentage (64.4), 29th in passing yards (1,023), tied for 31st in touchdowns (3), tied for 13th in interceptions (4) and 25th in passer rating (80.4).
- Stafford is 31st in fourth-quarter passer rating at 73.7. Bridgewater is 32nd with a rating of 71.9.
- Bridgewater is 15th in third-down passer rating at 88.7. Stafford is dead last at No. 32 of 32 quarterbacks with enough passes to qualify with a rating of 42.8, which includes six of his nine interceptions.
- Peterson is sixth in the league in rushing with 432 yards. Ameer Abdullah leads the Lions with 179 yards, which ranks him 44th.
- Mike Wallace leads the Vikings with 22 receptions, which ties him for 58th in the league. Detroit has three players higher than that. Calvin Johnson is tied for ninth with 38 receptions, running back Theo Riddick is tied for 17th with 33 and Golden Tate is tied for 20th at 32.
- Wallace is tied for 61st with 256 receiving yards to lead the Vikings. Johnson is tied for 15th with 488 yards and Tate is 43rd with 304 yards.
- Blair Walsh is 19th in the league in scoring among kickers with 36 points. Matt Prater is 24th with 30 points, despite playing one more game.
- Peterson is 18th in total yards from scrimmage with 521 (432 rushing, 89 receiving). Johnson is tied for 27th with 488 – all receiving.
- Detroit punter Sam Martin in 17th in punting average at 46.0 yards. Jeff Locke is 29th at 42.4 yards.
- Martin is 16th in net punting average at 40.1 yards. Locke is 17th in at 40.0.
- Marcus Sherels is 12th in the league in punt return average at 9.7 yards. Nobody from the Lions has enough returns to qualify for the league lead.
- Of the 15 kick returners that have enough returns to qualify for league leadership, Abdullah is second with a 30.6-yard average. Cordarrelle Patterson is 12th with a 24.6-yard average.
- In six games, Detroit’s Ziggy Ansah is tied for fourth in the league in sacks with five. Despite playing just four games, Everson Griffen is tied for 30th with three.