Tale Of The Tape: Minnesota Vikings At Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers
Detroit Lions v Cleveland Browns
Christian Ponder had a difficult 2012 season for the Vikings, and many expected the Vikings to move in a different direction because of his inconsistency. However, head coach Leslie Frazier is counting on Ponder to show some improvement this year. While he does not have a big arm, Ponder has a chance to be a more accurate passer if he can keep his cool under pressure.
Winner Matthew Stafford is paid like he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He has not shown the consistency to earn that kind of status. However, Stafford has a strong arm and the courage to stand in the pocket and take the hit before making a play. The Lions would like to see a bit more consistency and accuracy from him.
Adrian Peterson is probably the only running back in the league who can take over a game consistently. The passing game has become the dominant offense in the NFL, but Peterson is a throwback who can approach 150 yards every game. The Vikings are hoping that Greg Jennings can get open and Ponder can get the ball to him so some of the pressure on Peterson can be eliminated.
Winner The Lions have a chance to be explosive on the offensive end since they have Calvin Johnson (knee) catching the ball. He is one of the top receiving weapons in the league when healthy. The Lions believe that former Saint and Dolphin Reggie Bush will give them a credible running attack. Bush has plenty of quickness and the skills to make big plays as a runner or a receiver.
The Vikings played solid defense throughout the majority of the 2012 season, and they should be able to improve on that performance this year. The Vikings were 16th overall on defense and 11th against the run. Minnesota will depend on DE Jared Allen (12.0 sacks) to pressure opposing quarterbacks. FS Harrison Smith is one of the team’s best tacklers.
Winner The Lions took a big loss when pass rushing DE Cliff Avril signed with the Seahawks in the offseason. That means that head coach Jim Schwartz will depend on Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley to play consistently every week from the DT position. Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch is a tackling machine who can help Suh and Fairley shut down the interior run.
Special Teams
Winner The Vikings will depend on PK Blair Walsh to give them a consistent kicking game once again. He made 35-of-38 FG attempts last year with a long of 56 yards. Rookie Cordarelle Patterson has game-breaking speed and should give the Vikings a boost to their return game.
Long-time Lions kicker Jason Hanson finally called it a career and that may be bad news for the Lions. Former Eagle and 49er David Akers takes over for Hanson, and he’s coming off an inconsistent year in which he made just 29-of-42 attempts. The return game is likely to be ordinary, but Kassim Osgood leads the coverage teams which do a solid job.

The Winner Is

Detroit Lions v Cleveland Browns
Winner Detroit Lions
3 out of 4

The Vikings desperately need Ponder to show some improvement and consistency so AP does not have to carry the team on his shoulders. The Lions should have an edge in this game due to Stafford’s edge at the quarterback status and the combination of Suh and Fairley on the defensive line.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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