Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Prediction

A pair of 0-1 teams clash in a key, early-season NFC North matchup

The Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings will meet in Week 2 in a battle of winless NFC North teams. The Lions fell 33-28 at San Diego in their season opener. The Vikings suffered a 20-3 loss to San Francisco in the second game of a "Monday Night Football" doubleheader.

Both teams are looking to bounce back from disappointing starts filled with offensive lapses. Which NFC North team will earn its first win this Sunday?

 

Detroit at Minnesota

 

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)
TV Channel: FOX
Spread: Minnesota -2.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Will Mike Zimmer/Norv Turner use Adrian Peterson?

Many expected Adrian Peterson to run like a beast finally freed from his cage last Monday. Instead, the former MVP was limited to 10 carries for 31 yards.

 

Even stranger, Peterson took four of his carries out of the shotgun, which favors second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. It doesn't make sense to change one of the NFL's all-time greatest running backs, especially considering he didn't show signs of a decline or struggles from a nearly year-long absence on his limited attempts.

Look, Bridgewater is the future and that's fantastic. But right now, you still have one of the best running backs in the league and need to use him properly.
 

2. Matthew Stafford's injured arm

Matthew Stafford experienced numbness in his right (throwing) arm following a hit by San Diego linebacker Melvin Ingram on the first series of the second half. On the next series, Stafford's deep pass to Golden Tate was intercepted.

Oddly enough, his offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, was unaware of his injury.

"Probably should've affected that play call, but I wasn't aware that his arm was kind of numb," Lombardi told ESPN.

Stafford participated in full drills this week and was "fine" according to head coach Jim Caldwell. It will be interesting to see if the prior injury has any effect on his play or lingers during game time.

 

3. Will Teddy Bridgewater bounce back?

As noted, the Vikings are pretty high on Bridgewater. He's coming off a solid rookie campaign and is regarded as the team's franchise quarterback moving forward.

But Monday's debut was underwhelming for the former first round pick. Bridgewater threw for 231 yards and an interception on 23-of-32 passing. Granted, Minnesota lacks a true No. 1 wide receiver, but the second-year quarterback still needs to improve the offense.
 

Final Analysis

 

Minnesota shouldn't be as bad as the team we saw on Monday. The Vikings have talent on defense, which was displayed by holding San Francisco to 10 points until the fourth quarter.

Oh, and in case the coaches forgot, they still have Adrian Peterson. Surely he won't go two weeks with less than 20 carries, right?


Prediction: Vikings 28, Lions 24

 

— Written by Jason Hall, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and works for Fox Sports Florida. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhallFSN.

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