Behind Enemy Lines: Vikings’ Week 5 matchups vs. the Lions

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The Vikings need to win in Week 5 in order to make something of their 2021 season.

Minnesota revamped its defense and retained most of its offense for this year. Despite that, the Vikings have just a 1-3 record.

Minnesota will try to get back on track against a winless Detroit team this week. We talked with Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire to preview the matchup:

The Lions are 0-4, but the team has been in a lot of really close games. What are some silver linings in Detroit’s season?

Oct 3, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond (11) scores a touchdown in the second half against Chicago Bears defensive back Deon Bush (26) at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

We have seen positive energy and legit effort from the team, and those were missing during the last 2-3 seasons. It’s a very young team. The new regime embraced the youth movement instead of trying to sign patchwork veterans and while that might lead to some serious growing pains, they’re also developing some talent and building up the depth for down the road.

How much blame should Jared Goff have for the Lions' lack of success this year?

Oct 3, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to pass the ball after the pressure from Chicago Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman (91) in the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Goff hasn’t been great but he’s not amongst the biggest problems for the Lions. He’s not responsible for the team losing, but he’s also not really been a catalyst for a lot of positive things either.

How much longer do you think Goff will remain the Lions’ starting QB? He’s only 26, and of course, he’s on that huge contract, but do you think they’ll draft a quarterback soon?

Sep 26, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) jogs out of the tunnel before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

I expect Goff will at least start the 2022 season. His contract effectively dictates that. New GM Brad Holmes was the Rams’ scouting director when that team took Goff No. 1 overall and he’s been a big advocate for Goff in Detroit from Day One, so it’s going to take worse play than we’ve seen through four games to convince Holmes to just completely move on.

The Dan Campbell era will be defined by blank

Oct 3, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell looks on in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Good question. So far it’s been defined by effort and cleaning up the gigantic mess he inherited. The hope is that Campbell’s Lions become a physical and fast team that’s not easy to play and wins more than it loses.

Where do you see the Lions in three years?

Lions head coach Dan Campbell watches a play against the Ravens during the second half of the Lions’ 19-17 loss at Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.

I think the team is going to have quite a few new faces on both sides of the ball. Better weapons on offense, more playmakers on defense. The core is starting to get built and it has potential to evolve into something much bigger and better than we’ve had in Detroit in a few years. Hopefully that equates to a playoff win or two. It’s a long way out but the seeds are starting to get planted and germinate.

Who is the most underrated player on Detroit?

Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow, right, during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 at Ford Field. Syndication: DetroitFreePress

I’d say center Frank Ragnow but he’s out for a few weeks now. I’ll throw a bone to WR Kalif Raymond, who is coming off the best game of his NFL career. He can fly, he’s tough for a little receiver and he’s shown he can be an effective weapon despite coming from almost complete anonymity after spending years with the Titans.

Matchup to watch this week?

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs from Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Ragland, right, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Because the Lions are so banged up, I’ll answer this way: if the Lions cannot stop Dalvin Cook in both the run and pass game, it’s going to be ugly. LBs Alex Anzalone and Jalen Reeves-Maybin and safety Will Harris need to step up collectively. Cousins to Thielen and Jefferson might render it moot, but if the Lions can’t contain Cook the Vikings could easily hang five TDs on them.

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