Vikings-Lions game scout

Get the series history, keys to the game and fast facts as the Vikings prepare to host the Lions.

Sunday
St. Louis Rams (0-4) at Washington Redskins (4-1)
Miami Dolphins (2-2) at Houston Texans (0-4)
Detroit Lions (0-4) at Minnesota Vikings (2-3)
Oakland Raiders (1-3) at New Orleans Saints (2-3)
Carolina Panthers (4-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)
Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) at New York Jets (2-2)
Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
Chicago Bears (3-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-2)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) at Denver Broncos (4-1)
Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) at San Francisco 49ers (2-3)
Green Bay Packers (2-3) at Seattle Seahawks (1-3)
Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
New England Patriots (3-1) at San Diego Chargers (2-3)
Monday
New York Giants (4-0) at Cleveland Browns (1-3)

Detroit Lions (0-4) at Minnesota Vikings (2-3)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 10/12/08
SURFACE: Grass
TV: FOX (Ron Pitts, Tony Boselli, Laura Okmin)

SERIES


94th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 61-30-2. Lions have lost 11 of their last 12, 15 of their last 17 and 17 of their last 20 to the Vikings. Lions have lost their last 10 games at the Metrodome. Their last victory there was in 1997.

KEYS TO THE GAME

The Lions have struggled to run against far inferior units than the Vikings' No. 3-ranked run defense, so their ability to compete in a tough road environment falls on the passing game. However, QB Jon Kitna has an ailing back and the team might have to turn to Dan Orlovsky or Drew Stanton.

Ranked 30th in the league against the run and allowing 5.0 yards per carry, the Lions know it will take everything they have to contain Vikings RB Adrian Peterson. While QB Gus Frerotte isn't going to throw the ball all over the field, he has brought a veteran calmness to the offense - and the ability to make defenses pay for over-playing the run. And with WR Bernard Berrian finally comfortable in the offense, Frerotte has a dangerous downfield weapon at his disposal.

KEY INJURIES

Lions: Kitna (back spasms) is day-to-day after missing practice all week; Orlovsky (knee, ankle) should be available.

Vikings: Berrian (knee) continues to play at less than 100 percent; WR Sidney Rice (sprained knee) is uncertain.

FAST FACTS

  • The Lions' 81-point scoring differential is the worst in franchise history through the first four games of a season.

  • Frerotte needs 174 passing yards to reach 20,000 for his career.

  • Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte is so old, he remembers the last Lions quarterback to start a playoff game. It was him, in 1999. "Yeah, you know, that's why they call me old-school," Frerotte, 37, joked in a conference call with Detroit reporters. "That's how long I've been around."

    Frerotte looked back on his lone season with the Lions and what has happened to them since. Barry Sanders just retired, and nobody expected us to do well," Frerotte said. "We still had crowds in there, and the place still loves the Lions. Detroit loves the Lions, and they still get people to come to games. The (Silverdome) got loud when I was there. We were able to do some good things despite not having Barry. It's hard to believe that with the money the Fords have put into it and everything that things haven't turned around for the Lions."

  • The Lions apparently will scrap the no-huddle offense they tried Sunday against Chicago, even though it might be beneficial against a Minnesota team with a good run defense. "I know what you're saying, but it's so loud," Marinelli said of the Metrodome. "We had a hard time with communication last week. When you have four young players playing, all the communication that may go on, it's tough. I want to make sure we're doing something right. We're getting out of the huddle and we're setting hopefully a presence of just being physical and try to get the ball downfield to the big guys."

  • Wide receiver Calvin Johnson doesn't say much. But don't think that means he's different than any other star wide receiver coming off a game with two catches for 16 yards. "Every receiver wants the ball," Johnson said. "That's a given right there. That's one of the questions you don't have to ask." What are teams doing to take him away? "I mean, teams don't really do nothing different," Johnson said. "Sometimes they do, but a lot of coordinators, they stick to what they do. It's just a matter of us doing what we've got to do out there."

  • S Darren Sharper posted his first career interception when he picked off Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell and returned the ball 50 yards for a touchdown. That came on Nov. 2, 1997 when Sharper was a rookie with the Green Bay Packers. Sharper has posted at least one interception in four of his six games against Detroit since joining the Vikings.

  • The Vikings and Lions have met three times on Thanksgiving in Detroit but have not played on that day since the 1995 season. Minnesota lost 44-38 to the Lions that day. The Vikings beat the Lions in 1969 (27-0) and 1988 (23-0) on Thanksgiving. Interestingly, the Vikings have played just as many Thanksgiving games in Dallas as they have Detroit.

  • P Chris Kluwe set a Vikings record with a 57.5-yard gross punting average (230 yards on four punts) at Detroit on Sept. 16, 2007. That broke Mitch Berger's record of 55.8 set on Nov. 15, 1998 against Cincinnati.

  • QB Gus Frerotte needs 174 pass yards to reach 20,000 for his career (including playoffs).

  • RB Adrian Peterson needs a touchdown to surpass 100 career points. He currently has 96.

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