The Minnesota Vikings are hopeful that the return of star rookie running back Adrian Peterson will be a spark plug as they play host to NFC North rival Detroit Sunday in Minnesota. The two teams met earlier this year in Detroit with the Lions pulling out a key early season win. The Lions season though is on life support as they have dropped three in a row after starting the season 6-2. People in the Motor City are restless, and the Lions offense has seemed to have went into a shell after they started the season red-hot.
Minnesota found a new way to win last week at the Giants, and that is simply to run back three interceptions for scores. That along with an early long TD from QB Tavaris Jackson to WR Syndey Rice was more than enough for a big win to move to 5-6. Chester Taylor has been carrying the load for the Vikings with Peterson out, but the rookie has been on the field this week and it looks that even if is not starting, he should have plenty of chances to make things happen against a Lions defense that has been getting weaker as the season has moved along.
One thing the Lions strived on early in the year when they won six of their first eight was creating turnovers and making the most of them. They have not had nearly as much success in doing that the past three weeks, and if they are going to win on the road here, a few mistakes from Jackson or fumbles from Taylor or Peterson would well serve them. On offense, they won’t be able to run much against a good Vikings front four, but should have some success down the field with Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. Look for C.J. to get more chances, and for Williams to go over 100 yards recieveing.
As for the VIkings, the story will be run, run, run. When they have won this year, it has been with Jackson playing mistake-free, and the backs getting 4-5 yards per carry. With Taylor and Peterson carrying the bulk of the offense, staying on the field and putting up first downs will be big for a team that does not have the ability to throw the ball with any sort of success over 20 times. Jackson last week threw 12 times, and the team won. Right now if he has to throw more than 20 times, the Vikings are in trouble.
Overall, the Vikings defense should put pressure on Lions QB Jon Kitna, and the offense should be able to control the time of possession and move the ball well enough on the ground to grind out a win. Look for Peterson to be back with a bang, and for he and Taylor to combine for over 40 carries in a big Vikings win to move to 6-6 and drop the fading Lions to .500.