TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Minnesota Vikings At Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers
Detroit Lions v Cleveland Browns
Quarterback
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.
Offense
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.
Defense
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

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

    The Packers look to avenge a loss to the Cowboys in the regular season.

  2. PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers hands off to Le\'Veon Bell #26 during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on December 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs

    The red-hot Steelers head to KC for a rematch with a Chiefs team they throttled 43-14 in the regular season.

  3. HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans hands off to Lamar Miller #26 at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots points to the defense during the 1st quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Houston Texans at New England Patriots

    The Texans head to Foxboro, the site of a 27-0 loss in the regular season and now have to face Tom Brady this time around.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Best Of Minnesota
Good Question
Ski Report

Listen Live