4 pivotal matchups to watch in Lions vs Vikings Week 3

·3 min read

The Minnesota Vikings take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday in a game that provides some very even and intriguing matchups.

Not only do the Vikings need a win in order to go 2-1, but it would also put them at 2-0 in the division which would give them a huge advantage moving forward.

We highlighted earlier today 5 players that needed to have a good game to get a win on Sunday, and these four matchups are just as critical.

Kirk Cousins vs Lions secondary

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that Cousins had a bad game against the Philadelphia Eagles. His three interceptions were not great and two of them were downright awful. The Eagles played a lot of man coverage with a single high safety and the Vikings receivers had struggles getting open. The Lions are 8th in the NFL in running man coverage and the Vikings will need to figure it out and take advantage of it.

Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith vs Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) celebrates with linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) after Hunter sacked Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter during their football game Sunday, September 11, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Min. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
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The strength of the Detroit Lions is in the trenches and their tackles are both really good players. Both Conklin and Sewell are former first-round picks that can protect the edge well for quarterback Jared Goff. In order to slow down the NFL’s second-ranked scoring offense, the Vikings will need to get pressure on Goff. I projected Hunter and Smith to get 30+ sacks this season and after a great start, they need to kick it back into gear on Sunday.

Adam Thielen vs Amani Oruworiye

November 28, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions are going to key on Justin Jefferson on Sunday and for good reason. He’s one of the best receivers in the NFL and already dominated against the Green Bay Packers. With that focus, this is the time to get Thielen involved. With only seven catches for 88 yards on the season, Thielen hasn’t been involved nearly enough for how often he is getting open. He should be a priority on Sunday afternoon.

D'Andre Swift vs the Vikings run defense

Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift celebrates a touchdown against the Washington Commanders during the second half at Ford Field, Sept. 18, 2022.
Nfl Washington Commanders At Detroit Lions

The Lions are currently the second-ranked scoring offense in the national football league. One of the main reasons has been Swift. He has taken advantage of the fact that the offensive line has been opening up massive holes.

The Lions getting 0.2 YPC before contact more than the rest of the NFL has total is astounding. They also have a good matchup with the Vikings as they are 23rd in the NFL in run defense allowing 137 yards per game. Establishing the run, especially with Harrison Smith confirmed out and Eric Kendricks questionable, could be the key to a victory for either team on Sunday.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire