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Vikings Week 16 scouting report: Detroit Lions

Sunday: Noon at Ford Field (Ch. 9, 100.3-FM)


• Detroit (5-9) went for a two-point conversion and failed after an opening touchdown in Buffalo, then lost 14-13. The Lions were flagged four times for 81 yards, including a 43-yard pass interference by cornerback Mike Ford that set up the Bills’ first touchdown.

• Only one Lions receiver on the active roster, Kenny Golladay, has more than 20 catches this season. Detroit lost Marvin Jones Jr. to injured reserve and traded Golden Tate to Philadelphia.

• Lions leading rusher Kerryon Johnson was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, giving Eagan native Zach Zenner more work in a three-man backfield with Theo Riddick and LeGarrette Blount. Zenner has 22 carries for 99 yards and two TDs in the past two games.

• Cornerback Darius Slay, the Lions’ only Pro Bowl selection, intercepted Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins during Minnesota’s 24-9 win against Detroit on Nov. 4.

Player to watch | Matthew Stafford

• The veteran quarterback has been dealing with a back injury and was listed as questionable for the past two games. Stafford’s workload has also been limited. He has thrown fewer than 30 passes in both games, after having thrown more than 30 times in each of the previous six weeks.

• The Vikings’ 10 sacks on Stafford in Week 9 remains the NFL’s second-highest single-game mark this season.

• Lions coach Matt Patricia on managing Stafford’s injury: “With all our injuries, we kind of take them day by day and do what they can do for that particular day as we push toward the weekend.”

• Vikings DE Stephen Weatherly on success sacking Stafford: “Making the team one-dimensional. A guy like Matthew Stafford looks to make a play with the ball in his hands. He looks for a guy to get open, looks for the deeper routes, so he holds it a lot more than your average quarterback.”

COACH SPEAK | Matt Patricia

• Patricia is in his first season as Lions head coach with a 5-9 record. A 12-year Patriots defensive coach has overseen an improvement from 27th to 13th in yardage allowed by the Lions defense.

• One familiar face won’t be playing. DE Ezekiel Ansah was placed on injured reserve this month.

• Patricia on Zenner: “I think all those guys do a really good job of preparing. Zach is certainly someone that approaches work every day with a great attitude and preparation. He’s very smart and understands the scheme.”

• Patricia on preparing for a Vikings offense under interim coordinator Kevin Stefanski: “It’s a difficult thing to do when there’s a midseason change. There’s some things that definitely carry over from a scheme standpoint, but maybe the rhythm of the game changes a bit. That’s something we’ll have to get used to the best we can.”

Andrew Krammer

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