By the numbers: Vikings-Lions

The gap between the Vikings and Lions shows in the statistics, although there is only one week to compare. The ratings of the quarterbacks, offense and defense all go to the Vikings. However, we start with the Vikings' Hall of Fame candidates in this Sunday's "By the Numbers."

The initial list of 2010 Hall of Fame candidates was released Saturday, headed up by sure-fire first-ballot inductees Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith.

In all, the preliminary list includes 103 players, 10 coaches and 18 contributors. The other first-year eligible players other than Rice and Smith include former Vikings Gary Anderson and Rich Gannon.

Among the other nominees with Vikings ties are defensive end Al "Bubba" Baker (who spent his final season in 1988 with Minnesota), LB Matt Blair, safety Joey Browner, WR Cris Carter, RB Roger Craig (who spent his final two seasons with the Vikings), QB Randall Cunningham, DE Chris Doleman, Gannon, Ole Haugsrud (the owner of the Duluth Eskimos who signed off the allow the Vikings to join the NFL), RB Leroy Hoard, 2009 finalist John Randle, OT Korey Stringer, LB Darryl Talley (who spent his final season with the Vikings) and RB Herschel Walker.

The list will eventually be reduced to 15 finalists – 13 modern-era candidates and two nominees from the Seniors Committee.


  • The Vikings have the league's 15th-rated offense (1st rushing, 30th passing) and the 11th-ranked defense (19th rushing, 10th passing.). The Lions have the 26th-ranked offense (30th rushing, 19th passing) and the 32nd rated defense (26th rushing, 31st passing).

  • The Vikings are ranked 11th in the league in red zone scoring, having scored three touchdowns on five visits to the red zone. The Lions rank 17th, having scored two TDs on four red zone trips.

  • The Vikings have scored 27 points in the red zone – behind only to Baltimore (28) and New Orleans (28) for most points.

  • The Vikings are tied for 10th place with several teams in red zone defense, allowing one touchdown in two trips. The Lions are tied for 21st in red zone defense, having allowed four touchdowns on six trips into the red zone. The 28 points Detroit has allowed in the red zone is tied for most in the league.

  • The Vikings are ninth in the league offensively in converting third downs. Minnesota has made good on six of 14 chances (42.9 percent), which is above the league average of 38.7 percent conversions. The Lions are 29th, having converted just three of 14 (21.4 percent) third downs on offense. Defensively, the Vikings are tied for fifth on third down, allowing just three of 12 conversions (25 percent), while the Lions are dead last, allowing nine of 13 conversions (69.2 percent).

  • The average gain on first down league-wide is 5.25 yards. The Vikings offense is 13th at 5.41 yards, while the Lions are 29th at 3.56 yards. Defensively, the Vikings are 17th, allowing 5.07 yards on first down, while Detroit is 31st, allowing 8.57 yards.

  • Both teams have had good return games. The average start of a drive following a kickoff is the 25.9-yard line. The Vikings are third with an average starting spot of the 33.2-yard line, while the Lions are fifth with an average start at the 30.8-yard line. Defensively, the Vikings rank 17th, allowing an average start of the 25.7-yard line. The Loons are 20th, with an average opponent start of the 27.3-yard line.

  • Although Brett Favre is ranked 10th in the league in passer rating (95.3), he is 30th in attempts, tied for 28th in completions, 30th in yards and 28th in average gain. Matthew Stafford is 31st in passer rating (27.4), 30th in completion percentage, 26th in average gain per pass and 30th in both interceptions and interception percentage.

  • Both quarterbacks were dismal in the fourth quarter. Favre ranks 28th with a fourth-quarter passer rating of 42.4, but that is better than Stafford – who is 31st with a passer rating of just 30.1 in the fourth quarter.

  • On third downs, Favre was much better – ranking ninth with a passer rating of 106.8. Stafford was hideous here too, ranking 27th with a passer rating of 27.5.

  • Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 180 yards, 37 yards more than the next highest total (by Mike Bell of New Orleans) and 100 yards more than all but six running backs. Kevin Smith is tied for 48th in the league with 20 yards rushing, two less than Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin.

  • Smith is tied for eighth in the league with seven receptions. The highest Viking is Chester Taylor, who is tied for 27th with five receptions.

  • Calvin Johnson is tied for 15th with 90 receiving yards. The first Viking doesn't show up on the receiving yardage until Percy Harvin checks in at No. 82 with 36 receiving yards.

  • With 18 points last week, Peterson leads the NFL in scoring.

  • Ryan Longwell is tied for second in the league in scoring among kickers with 10 points. Lions kicker Jason Hanson is tied for fifth place with nine points.

  • Peterson leads the league in yards from scrimmage with 198 – 36 more than his next closest competition (Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne). Calvin Johnson is tied for 27th with 90 total yards.

  • Peterson leads the league in converting first downs with 11 (10 rushing, one receiving). Smith is tied at No. 29 with four (three rushing, one receiving), tying him with Harvin among others.

  • Chris Kluwe has a gross punting average of 38.7 yards – better than just two punters and his net average of just 24.2 yards is better than only one other punter in the league.

  • The return game is a different story. On punt returns, Dennis Northcutt of the Lions is second with a 27.5-yard average, followed immediately by Darius Reynaud, who has averaged 27 yards per return. Lions rookie Aaron Brown leads the league with a 36-yard kickoff return average. Harvin is third with a 33-yard average.

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this hot topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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