The Vikings seemed doomed a month ago at this time with a 2-5 record and little hope of not being in the top six as far as draft picks go -- not one of the six NFC teams that could qualify for the 2005 playoffs.
But, four wins later, the Vikings are poised to make their record 7-5 against the Lions, who are falling quickly to the bottom of the NFC pool.
The Vikings have reversed their road woes with two straight wins away from the Metrodome, but Ford Field has never seemed to be a problem. Rather, it's been something of a home away from home. The Lions have never held home field against the Vikes at their new digs -- losing all three games to the Vikings at Ford Field.
A win today will put the Vikings back into the thick of the playoff race with three of their final four games to be played at the Metrodome. A win today and the bandwagon can officially start taking on passengers.
* Brad Johnson's passing yards have gone up in each of the four games he has started.
* Rookie Marcus Johnson has the unenviable assignment of taking on Kalimba Edwards, who leads the Lions with seven sacks despite playing only on clear passing downs.
* The Vikings' rankings are slowly starting to improve, but the numbers are still pretty lackluster. The Vikings rank 22nd in points scored, 25th in total offense, 24th in rush offense, 20th in pass offense, 28th in total defense, 15th in run defense and 25th in pass defense.
* The Lions are one of the few teams that have been worst statistically than the Vikings. They're 26th in points scored, 27th in total offense, 25th in run offense and pass offense, 14th in total defense, 26th in run defense and 11th in pass defense.
* What has been the difference between Johnson and Daunte Culpepper? In 216 pass attempts, Culpepper threw six TDs and 12 interceptions. In 140 attempts, Johnson has six TDs and just two interceptions.
* In 11 games this year, Michael Bennett has rushed 68 times for 200 yards and no touchdowns -- a 2.9 yard average per carry and 18.6 yards a game.
* In the first seven games this year, the Vikings had 10 takeaways and 10 sacks. In the four-game streak, the team has 15 takeaways and 13 sacks.
* The Vikings had their first undefeated November since 1999 and are well on their way of reversing the trend in which the team finished the regular season with a 3-7 record the last two years.
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