Free Press sports writers Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez preview the Detroit Lions-Minnesota Vikings game on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.
Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press

Former Detroit Lions linebacker Chris Spielman will serve as the color analyst for Sunday’s Lions-Vikings game, the second straight year he’s broadcast a game between the team he played for and the one his brother, Rick, runs as general manager.

It’s a unique dynamic, but one Spielman has learned to juggle expertly in his two decades in TV.

“I don’t come out a winner in this game,” Spielman told the Free Press this week. “I don’t.

“I remember last year’s game, that’s where Dalvin Cook — Lions won, which was, ‘All right, good job Lions.’ — Then I remember that’s when Dalvin Cook tore his ACL. And man, I was just feeling bad for him, first of all, because he was off to a great year, and I felt bad for Rick. ‘All right, let’s work your magic, whatever you’ve got. Put a guy in there, let’s go.’ So I think my emotions and my personal feelings come after, not before. I kind of dial it in on what’s happening and preparing.”

Because he’s so closely tied to both the Lions and Vikings, Spielman said he voluntarily does not take part in some network production meetings when the two teams play.

National broadcast crews typically meet with coaches and key players from both teams in the days leading up to their games.

“I’ll do the Vikings meeting with the coaches and players (this week), but I won’t do the Lions,” Spielman said. “I told Matt (Patricia) last week, I said, ‘Matt, just so you know, I’m voluntarily not going to talk to you this week.’ And he, to his credit, which I love, he said why? And I just said, ‘Well, I don’t want to give anybody ever a reason.’

“And I just think it makes it easier for everybody. And especially when I do Lions, this is my eighth Lions game this year counting preseason. So I don’t really need to see another Lions practice.”

Spielman, who played for the Lions from 1988-95, is the color analyst for Fox’s local Lions broadcasts in the preseason and also did Lions’ regular-season games against the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.

He said he was traveling to Minnesota on Friday, where he would be staying his brother’s house — while his brother is staying at his house in Columbus to watch Ohio State’s game against Nebraska.

Rick Spielman’s son, JD, plays for the Cornhuskers.

He’s back

Top Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen played 37 of a possible 53 defensive snaps in the Vikings’ loss to the New Orleans Saints last week, his first game back after a five-game absence to deal with mental health issues.

“Everson’s always a guy that is going to hit the ground running,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said in a teleconference with Detroit reporters this week. “But you’re out of football for four weeks or whatever it was, it’s different. Conditioning and running and lifting weights, and then you go out and you’re playing football. I’m sure there’s some plays he’d like to have back, but there were some good things as well.”

Lions left tackle Taylor Decker said he expects Griffen, who along with left end Danielle Hunter gives the Vikings once of the best pass-rushing combos in the NFL, to play a full complement of snaps this week.

“I think he’s going to be himself,” Decker said. “I know they had him on a pitch count, it seemed like, but we’re fully expecting him to be back full strength, full speed, full snaps. We know what kind of player he is. He’s a high-, high-level pass rusher.”

Contact Dave Birkett: Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Download our Lions Xtra app for free on Apple and Android!