Hammer and Nail

Lions coach Rod Marinelli is trying to reverse a decade of domination by a Vikings team that has hammered the Lions for the last nine years.

When sports fans think of rivalries, the Vikings and Packers have to be one at or near the top of the list for NFL teams – if for no other reason than they've played 92 times with the Packers winning 46 games, the Vikings winning 45 and one ending in a tie.

But what about the Lions and the Vikings? Theirs has been a rivalry akin to the rivalry between a hammer and a nail. The Vikes have won the last 10 meetings between the teams – the longest current winning streak of one team over another. But it gets worse for Lions fans. The Vikings have won 14 of the last 15 and 16 of the last 18 meetings dating back to 1998.

"That hasn't been brought up to us because first of all we're just getting started this week, but secondly I don't know how many guys have been here that long," Lions quarterback Jon Kitna said on Wednesday. "I know we only have 23 guys on this team this year that were with us at the end of last year, so there are only a handful of guys that have been here. This is a new day and age for us and we could care less about what has happened in the past. That doesn't mean anything to us. The only thing that matters is how we handle ourselves this week."

While the Vikings have a 16-2 decade of dominance, it hasn't been unholy beatdowns that have made the series what is has become. It's how the Vikings have won. Of the 14 wins in the last 15 meetings, only one Vikes victory has been by more than 10 points and five have been by five points or less.

"I've never been involved in a situation like that where one team just beats the other every time," said safety Darren Sharper, who played with a pretty dominant Packers team early in his career. "When you get those types of numbers against you, it motivates you to come out and work harder to get a ‘W' on your side of the column."

Thusfar, nothing has worked for the Lions. Vikings fans hope that will continue.

* The Lions still have 3,500 seats remaining for their opener that have to be sold today or the game might be blacked out locally.
* The Vikings had six players on their initial injury report – Robert Ferguson (ankle) and Vinny Ciurciu (hand) took part in the non-contact practice, while Mike Doss (calf), Tony Richardson (forearm), Chester Taylor (oblique) and Naufahu Tahi (ankle) were listed as participating on a limited basis. * Of the three players listed on the Lions injury report, two were running backs – T.J. Duckett (ankle) didn't practice and Kevin Jones (foot) took part in only a small part of practice.
* From the bulletin board department comes this: Yesterday during the media session with players, Pat Williams was quoted as saying, "We don't worry about the Lions. Basically, they have to worry about us." This morning, it was a talker on Detroit radio and a big story in the newspapers.
* As expected, the recently-released David Harron, signed by the Patriots for what some think is retribution for the signing of TE Garrett Mills off waivers, has rejoined the Vikings on the practice squad.
* The Vikings shifting more than $13 million in salary cap space from 2007 to 2008 with the Pat Williams signing currently leaves the team with about $5 million in cap space – viewed as well more than enough to meet their needs for 2007 and leaves the potential open that, if the team doesn't have a rash of injuries that require other signings, another late-season extension could be possible for a veteran player.
* As of yet, the league has taken no action against Vikings DT Fred Evans. Evans, who was released by the Dolphins earlier this year due to a pair of incidents that got him in legal problems in Florida and Texas, has resolved both cases. Typically, having a pair of plea-bargain convicitions would get the NFL's morality police working, but, as of now, no suspension has been handed down.
* The Cardinals, who released former Viking Brad Badger last week, re-signed him Tuesday. By doing do, he's basically on a week-to-week contract as opposed to a veteran that is on a roster after the first week and earns credit for the remainder of his contract.

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