Vikings-Lions game scout

Get the series history, keys to the game and fast facts as the Vikings and Lions prepare for another NFC North game.

Sunday
Cleveland Browns (4-8) at Tennessee Titans (11-1)
Philadelphia Eagles (6-5-1) at New York Giants (11-1)
Atlanta Falcons (8-4) at New Orleans Saints (6-6)
Cincinnati Bengals (1-10-1) at Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
Houston Texans (5-7) at Green Bay Packers (5-7)
Minnesota Vikings (7-5) at Detroit Lions (0-12)
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) at Chicago Bears (6-6)
New York Jets (8-4) at San Francisco 49ers (4-8)
Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) at Denver Broncos (7-5)
Miami Dolphins (7-5) at Buffalo Bills (6-6)
Dallas Cowboys (8-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)
St. Louis Rams (2-10) at Arizona Cardinals (7-5)
New England Patriots (7-5) at Seattle Seahawks (2-10)
Washington Redskins (7-5) at Baltimore Ravens (8-4)
Monday
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3) at Carolina Panthers (9-3)

Minnesota Vikings (7-5) at Detroit Lions (0-12)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 12/07/08
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: FOX (Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan, Chris Myers)

SERIES


95th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 62-30-2, beating the Lions 12-10 on Oct. 12 at the Metrodome. Ryan Longwell's 26-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the fourth quarter provide the winning points.

KEYS TO THE GAME

The Lions give up 176.9 rushing yards per game, last in the NFL. The defensive line takes poor angles while the linebackers and safeties miss too many tackles. The Vikings will pound RBs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, looking to break Detroit's will early. And the Lions' pass rush figures to be minimal with rookie DEs Andre Fluellen and Cliff Avril set to start.

‘Williams Wall' in play: With DTs Kevin and Pat Williams having their suspensions blocked for now, the Vikings won't be as thin as expected inside. That's bad news for Lions QB Daunte Culpepper, who could really use the support of a decent ground game. He will have had 10 days between games to get more familiar with the playbook, but that doesn't help an offensive line that doesn't protect well. Culpepper has six interceptions in four starts and must be careful against Minnesota's soft Cover-2.

Specialties: Lions PK Jason Hanson's 40 career field goals from 50-plus yards has tied Morten Andersen's NFL record.

Key Injuries: Vikings: DE Jared Allen (shoulder) continues to be limited in practice but will play; RT Artis Hicks (elbow) is uncertain; DE Brian Robison (knee) is out. Lions: DE Dewayne White (calf) is doubtful.

Need to know: Kevin Williams is second on the Vikings with 8.5 sacks and has 33 quarterback hurries. ... The Lions have had five quarterbacks attempt a pass for the first time since at least 1960.

FAST FACTS

  • The Vikings only need to look at their own history to know that a winless Lions team can be dangerous. Just like this season, the Lions were 0-12 and going nowhere in 2001 when they recorded their first victory of the season. That one came against the Vikings at the Pontiac Silverdome. Of course, that Vikings team finished 5-11 and changed coaches (Mike Tice took over for Dennis Green) with a game left in the season.

  • The Vikings are 15-2 against the Lions since the 2000 season, losing at Detroit in 2001 and 2007. The 2007 loss was the first in 11 games.

  • The Vikings are 28-18-1 all-time against the Lions in Detroit. Their 62 all-time victories versus Detroit are the most against any opponent in the NFL.

  • The Lions actually won the first five games of the series from 1961 to 1963 but have won only 25 of the 89 games since that streak.

  • The Vikings have played the Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit only three times in their history, going 2-1 against their longtime division rival. Minnesota has not visited Detroit on Thanksgiving since Nov. 23, 1995 when it lost 44-38. The Vikings also have played at Dallas on Thanksgiving three times.

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

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

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