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When: Noon Sunday, Ford Field
TV (radio): Ch. 4 (100.3-FM)
Line: Vikings by 7

The winless Lions came within a Kirk Cousins rally of beating the Vikings in Minneapolis in Week 5, and they've lost their past two by a combined five points after tying Pittsburgh. The Vikings will be without Dalvin Cook, but they'll have opportunities to throw on the Lions' secondary. If the Vikings are more aggressive than they were in Week 5, they should win more comfortably than they did then.


Vikings need a win for playoff hopes; Lions just need a win
After a loss to San Francisco last week, the Vikings are behind Washington on a tiebreaker for the NFC's last wild-card spot. They'll try to get back to .500 for the third time this year against a Lions team that's trying to avoid the embarrassment of going winless for the second time in franchise history. The Vikings needed a 54-yard field goal from Greg Joseph to win last time; they'll try to make it easier on themselves this time.

Defensive line could get reinforcements
The Vikings activated Dalvin Tomlinson from the COVID-19 reserve list this week and cleared Michael Pierce to practice after he missed seven games with an elbow injury. If both players are able to play Sunday, it would help the Vikings fortify their run defense after giving up 208 yards last week. And though linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr are questionable for the Vikings, they'll have the luxury of facing the Lions without D'Andre Swift, the Lions' top back who'll miss the game with a shoulder injury.

Cousins looks to stay hot in his home state
Cousins moved to Holland, Mich., when he was a kid; he talked this week about dreaming of playing in a Michigan state championship game at Ford Field when he was in high school. He is 3-1 against the Lions in his home state, having won three times there with the Vikings while posting passer ratings north of 100 each time. After a disappointing game against San Francisco, Cousins could get a bounce-back opportunity in Detroit.


Vikings WR Justin Jefferson vs. Lions CB Amani Oruwariye
Jefferson caught seven passes for 124 yards against the Lions in Week 5, surpassing 100 yards by halftime and doing most of his damage against Oruwariye. The Detroit cornerback is tied for third in the NFL with five interceptions this season and had one in each of the Lions' past two games. He said this week he has nothing to prove to Jefferson; his ability to control the reigning NFC offensive player of the month will be important to the Lions' chances this time.

Vikings LT Oli Udoh vs. Lions LB Charles Harris
With Christian Darrisaw out because of an ankle injury, the Vikings plan to move Udoh from right guard (where he's been called for holding 10 times) to left tackle, according to a league source. He got some work at left tackle in training camp, and offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak said in August that Udoh "could be a starting right guard or starting left tackle at any time." He figures to see plenty of Harris, the former first-round pick who leads the Lions with five sacks this season.


11: Number of touchdown passes without an interception Cousins has thrown in four career games at Ford Field.


They can get the ball to Jefferson and Adam Thielen with the same assertiveness they've shown in recent weeks, prevent the Lions from keeping the game close and allow their pass rushers to go after Jared Goff. Without Cook, Alexander Mattison starts against the Lions for the second time this year; he had 25 carries for 113 yards last time, but his fourth-quarter fumble gave Detroit a chance to win. Mattison — and rookie Kene Nwangwu — could be important for the Vikings again on Sunday.


They can get the kind of timely turnovers they had in the second half of their first game against the Vikings, when they erased a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes to take the lead. They'll also need to find a running game without Swift, pressure Cousins the way they did in the first matchup and protect Goff better than they did in October.


Vikings 24, Lions 14