Detroit News scouting report: Vikings at Lions
Vikings with lions
Kicking off: Sunday at 1 p.m., Ford Field, Detroit
TV / radio: Fox / 760 AM
Records: Vikings 6-9; Lions 5-10
Line: Vikings from 6.5
Matt Schoch cancels Lions Week 17 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings for The Detroit News:
LIONS VS. LETHARGY
In this area, we usually talk about how a Detroit unit matches that of an opponent. But it doesn’t matter if there was a hint last week.
The Lions were really embarrassed last week on national television against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There is no doubt another loss will benefit the franchise with a higher draft pick next spring. Another end-of-season stinker is an insult to a suffering fan base who mostly uses Lions soccer Sundays as an escape – especially in 2020 (remember 2020 ?!).
More: “I’m Getting Better”: Tracy Walker vows to bounce back in any role Lions choose
This state owes a lot to this franchise, but for this season it would be a fair conclusion to end with some pride.
And with all the talk about quarterback Matthew Stafford and how interim coach Darrell Bevell can’t keep him off the field, it would be nice if Stafford could convince his teammates to be interested too.
Alexander Mattison, RB: While we were all sad to hear the news of Dalvin Cook’s father’s death that will keep him out of the game, the Detroit Defense will be glad to see the star not run back. But what about looking at a similarly imposing future? Mattison is an almost sophomore clone of Cook, hitting 4.5 yards per carry in a spare roll this season. It’s only a matter of time before he runs over Lions in purple on their way to big wins.
Justin Jefferson, WR: Just like Mattison is a next generation Lions killer, Jefferson should get his share of touchdowns against Detroit over the years. The LSU product already has the franchise rookie record for receptions (79). Jefferson is also the fifth player in NFL history to record five 1000-yard games as a rookie. His mileage (1,267) is only surpassed by the first few seasons of Anquan Boldin, who had 1,377 yards for Arizona in 2003; Randy Moss, who had 1,313 yards for Minnesota in 1998; and Odell Beckham Jr., who had 1,305 yards for the New York Giants in 2014.
Harrison Smith, S: Until recently, the faces in Minnesota’s dominant defense remained largely the same for a long time. But due to abrasion and injuries, only a few are left on the grid. Smith and linebacker Erik Kendricks are still holding it down for coach Mike Zimmer. Smith is one of the best defensive playmakers of the era. No security has had more interceptions than Smith, 27, since joining the league in 2012.
Facts and figures
► Adam Thielen is the eighth of all time at receptions in Minnesota (393) with Sammy White. Seven receptions on Sunday bring Thielen to 400 and tie him for the seventh time on the list with Ahmad Rashad (yes, this Ahmad Rashad).
► The two best passers-by from quarterback Kirk Cousins for the Vikings competed against the Lions. In 2019, Cousins at Ford Field threw a passerby rating of 141.5 for 333 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. That year, he beat that score with a 141.7 try on October 20, threw 220 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, and passed 13-for-20.
► According to The Lines, 10 of Minnesota’s 15 games this season are ahead. nine out of 15 for Detroit. The 54 point total is the second highest on the board this week, and there are very good reasons for it.
Matt Schoch is a writer for PlayMichigan.com and freelance for The Detroit News.