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Vikings vs Lions: Week 5 NFL preview

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass as Detroit Lions defensive tackle John Penisini (91) pressures during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass as Detroit Lions defensive tackle John Penisini (91) pressures during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings vs Lions preview

Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings‘ offense stalled in Week 4.

A matchup at home Sunday against Detroit, the only winless NFC team, could get that unit back on track.

Vikings vs Lions: Kirk Cousins hopes to maintain magnificence against Michigan

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 3, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Cousins, who grew up in Michigan and starred at Michigan State, is 6-0 against the Lions since joining the Vikings in 2018. In seven career games against Detroit, Cousins has completed 74.2 percent of his passes, including 16 touchdowns, with just one interception.

“No real specific reason,” Cousins said of his success against the Lions. “Every game is its own entity. You’ve just got to go out and find a way to get the win. No previous game or future game is in (my) mind going into this one.”

Cousins was under heavy pressure in a 14-7 loss to Cleveland. He threw for a season-low 203 yards and was intercepted for the first time in four games.

Minnesota (1-3) also couldn’t run the ball against the Browns, held to 65 yards on 23 attempts. Dalvin Cook, who is battling through an ankle injury, carried nine times for 34 yards.

The Vikings will be playing at home for the third consecutive weekend.

Vikings vs Lions: Jared Goff looks for efficient offensive attack

NFL power rankings, Detroit Lions
Oct 3, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) leaves the field after the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions (0-4) haven’t scored a point before halftime in their last two games, including a 24-14 loss to Chicago on Sunday. That has forced them to rely too often on Jared Goff and his unimposing group of receivers.

“We can’t get in one of these (where) we’re down, we’re in two-minute mode and we have to throw it every play,” first-year coach Dan Campbell said. “They know it and we know it. That doesn’t serve us well all the time.”

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Campbell hopes to avoid a lot of long yardage situations against a Vikings pass rush that has recorded 13 sacks, two shy of the league lead.

“When they know they can get you in pass downs, it’s an issue,” he said. “They’re a fast, aggressive defense.”

The Vikings’ defense could be even more dangerous with the return of linebacker Anthony Barr. He missed most of last year with a torn pectoral muscle, and he’s been sidelined the first four games this season by a knee injury.

“I feel good about it,” coach Mike Zimmer said of Barr’s chances of returning. “He hasn’t played in over a year, so we’ve just got to get him back in the groove of being physical, making the checks and understanding where he’s at and kind of go from there.”

Campbell gambled on a trio of fourth downs against the Bears and his offense only converted one of them, killing any hopes of a comeback.

“Look, 0-4 stings but at the same time we’re not as far away as it appears to be,” he said. “We were two plays away last week from winning that game.”

Injuries complicate the Lions’ chances of getting that elusive victory. Center Frank Ragnow has been placed on IR with a turf toe injury, joining tackle Taylor Decker. Linebacker Romeo Okwara is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Two other key Lions offensive players, tight end T.J. Hockenson (knee) and tackle Penei Sewell (ankle), missed Wednesday’s practice.

Cook, linebacker Nick Vigil (ankle) and defensive lineman Michael Pierce (elbow) sat out the Vikings’ practice.

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–Field Level Media