Lions 13

(7-9, 3-5 away)

Vikings 14

(5-10-1, 5-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 29, 2013

Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN 

1 2 3 4 T
DET 0 0 7 613
MIN 7 0 0 714

Top Performers

Passing: M. Stafford (DET) - 217 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: M. Asiata (MIN) - 14 CAR, 115 YDS

Receiving: K. Ogletree (DET) - 5 REC, 75 YDS

Lions-Vikings Preview


A month ago, the Detroit Lions were in control of the NFC North. They enter Week 17 with nothing more to play for than a .500 record.

After three straight losses to ensure their most recent late-season collapse, the Lions are ending 2013 with a consolation game Sunday as they help the Minnesota Vikings say goodbye to the Metrodome.

The Lions (7-8) have lost five of their last six, posting a minus-15 turnover differential in this stretch that has caused them to miss the playoffs for a second straight year.

"We put ourselves in a bad, bad situation," linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. "Unfortunately, we can't dig ourselves out of it now."

The Vikings (4-10-1) did themselves in by losing seven of their first eight.

"We realize that there is one week left in the fight," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "We need to get a win at home to put the Metrodome to sleep. We have to bring our best game."

Lions coach Jim Schwartz and Vikings coach Leslie Frazier now find themselves in similarly dubious situations, potentially coaching the last game for their respective teams.

"For our players, it's important that they focus on the task," Frazier said. "That's what I'm asking them to do, and I need to do the same thing. It's very, very important if you want to have a chance to win these games down the stretch that I stay focused on what's involved with leading our team, and I want them to follow. It's important I handle it the right way."

Matt Cassel will start at quarterback for the Vikings, closing out a season of near-weekly uncertainty at the position that included Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman.

Cassel fell to 2/3 as a starter this season with last Sunday's 42-14 loss at Cincinnati. He went 13 of 27 for 114 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.

Adding to the game's irrelevance is the injury status of its two biggest stars, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Peterson will miss the game after running for 45 yards on 11 carries and missing most of the second half in Cincinnati, a week after sitting out with a sprained right foot.

That problem along with a lingering groin injury had limited Peterson in practice this week. He said Thursday his "mindset is to be out there" Sunday but acknowledged he felt uncomfortable last week against the Bengals, and the team ruled him out Saturday.

Peterson seemed less concerned with his health than he was with his coach's status.

"I'm definitely not an individual that's looking for dramatic change like that," Peterson said. "It will hurt if he leaves."

Johnson, meanwhile, is dealing with knee and ankle issues. He was a game-time decision in last week's 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Giants and was held to three catches for 43 yards.

"His knee was bothering him and his ankle was a problem," Schwartz said. "We were trying to use him in the red zone and on third downs, but he wasn't close to 100 percent."

Matthew Stafford's struggles have been a big part of the Lions' downfall as he's thrown 11 of his 19 interceptions in the last five weeks. He's one shy of matching his career high of 20 picks from his rookie season.

The Lions opened the season with a 34-24 home win over the Vikings, but they won't be upset to see the Metrodome torn down. Detroit has lost 14 of its last 15 trips to Minnesota, with its lone win since 1997 coming in 2011.

While Sunday's result may be inconsequential in the standings, team decisions will certainly begin to fall into place after it's over.

"I've been in situations where teams didn't fulfill expectations and everyone was back and gave the team another opportunity," Lions receiver Nate Burleson told the team's official website. "They kept that same team together who had so much promise.

"Then I was with teams who were blown up and it was like a complete (overhaul) of individuals. I guess you expect the worst and hope for the best in situations like this. At the end of the day, it is what it is."

What Burleson isn't expecting is for the Lions to lie down in their season finale.

"It would look even worse to people that still are following this team if we went to Minnesota and mailed it in," he said.


Passing Leaders

M. Stafford65.744462910
J. Rudock60.02401
C. Keenum67.63547227
S. Bradford74.438230

Rushing Leaders

A. Abdullah1655523.34
T. Riddick842863.43
L. Murray2168423.98
J. McKinnon1505703.83

Receiving Leaders

M. Jones Jr.61110118.09
G. Tate92100310.95
A. Thielen91127614.04
S. Diggs6484913.38

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

Total YardsDET
Yards PassingDET
Yards RushingDET
Yards AllowedDET
Pass Yds AllowedDET
Rush Yds AllowedDET

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

Minnesota leads 20-6
Sep 8, 2013DET 34, MIN 24
Nov 11, 2012DET 24, @MIN 34
Sep 30, 2012DET 13, MIN 20
Dec 11, 2011DET 34, MIN 28
Sep 25, 2011DET 26, @MIN 23
Jan 2, 2011DET 20, MIN 13
Sep 26, 2010DET 10, @MIN 24
Nov 15, 2009DET 10, @MIN 27
Sep 20, 2009DET 13, MIN 27
Dec 7, 2008DET 16, MIN 20
Oct 12, 2008DET 10, @MIN 12
Dec 2, 2007DET 10, @MIN 42
Sep 16, 2007DET 20, MIN 17
Dec 10, 2006DET 20, MIN 30
Oct 8, 2006DET 17, @MIN 26
Dec 4, 2005DET 16, MIN 21
Nov 6, 2005DET 14, @MIN 27
Dec 19, 2004DET 27, MIN 28
Nov 21, 2004DET 19, @MIN 22
Nov 23, 2003DET 14, @MIN 24
Sep 21, 2003DET 13, MIN 23
Dec 29, 2002DET 36, MIN 38
Oct 13, 2002DET 24, @MIN 31
Dec 16, 2001DET 27, MIN 24
Oct 14, 2001DET 26, @MIN 31

Research Notes

Cordarrelle Patterson: 5th straight game with an offensive TD. Last Vikings WR to do that? Randy Moss in 2004.
Sunday marks the last game in the Metrodome for the Vikings, who will begin playing home games outdoors next season. The temperature in Minneapolis at kickoff of Sunday's game was minus-3 degrees.
Cordarrelle Patterson scored his third rushing touchdown in the first quarter against the Lions Sunday. No wide receiver in the last 10 seasons had more than two rushing touchdowns in a season.

ESPN Stats & Information