The Minnesota Vikings have a short week to rid themselves of the memory of being gouged for 16 rushing first downs and a season-high 218 yards on the ground. The Vikings look to tighten up defensively on Sunday when they put their unbeaten home record on the line against the Detroit Lions, who have lost five in a row.
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Minnesota had won six of its previous seven games before a 37-30 setback to Seattle on Monday dropped the club to the sixth seed in the conference, although it is just one game behind NFC North-leading Green Bay. Kirk Cousins exploited Detroit's 30th-ranked pass defense by throwing for 338 yards and four touchdowns as the Vikings posted a 42-30 win on Oct. 20 for its lone win within the division, but they'll have a chance to make hay with three of their final four games against NFC North rivals. The Lions, who have lost eight of nine to be eliminated from postseason contention for the third straight season, fell to 0-4 within the division with a 24-20 setback to Chicago on Thanksgiving Day. Rookie David Blough, who is under center after injuries to Matthew Stafford (back) and Jeff Driskel (hamstring), threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Vikings -13 O/U: 43
ABOUT THE LIONS (3-8-1): Kenny Golladay's career-high 75-yard touchdown reception on Detroit's first drive eclipsed his previous yardage total from Detroit's 19-16 setback at Washington on Nov. 24, and the 26-year-old finished with four catches for 158 yards to surpass the sum of his previous three games (152). Golladay's NFL high-tying nine touchdowns are matched by fellow wideout Marvin Jones, who found the end zone four times in the last meeting versus the Vikings. On the other side of the ball, defensive end Trey Flowers has registered five sacks and a forced fumble in his last five games. "I don't really look into stats, man, I just work hard and do my job," the 26-year-old Flowers said. "There's a lot of people that look at the game and define it as far as streaks and things, but I'm just trying to get the win."
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (8-4): Minnesota's injury front received both positive and negative news, as star running back Dalvin Cook is trending toward returning to the field against Detroit while Pro Bowl wideout Adam Thielen doesn't appear to be headed in that direction. Cook (NFL high-tying 12 rushing TDs) exited Monday's game with both chest and shoulder injuries before returning to practice two days later ahead of the tilt versus the Lions, against whom he rolled up a season-high 142 yards and two touchdowns. Thielen hasn't been as fortunate since reeling in a 25-yard scoring strike against Detroit, as he left that contest with an ailing hamstring that has prevented him from playing aside from a brief stint versus Kansas City in Week 9. Fellow wideout Stefan Diggs, who had seven catches for 143 yards against the Lions, has been held under 50 yards receiving in three of his last four games.
1. Minnesota TE Kyle Rudolph has five touchdowns in four straight games overall and the same totals versus Detroit.
2. The Lions are surrendering an NFL fourth-worst 398.1 total yards per contest.
3. Vikings DE Danielle Hunter has collected 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in his past five games against Detroit.