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Minnesota Vikings 2016 Schedule Previews: Detroit Lions

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NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Following their third prime-time game in the first six games of 2016, the Minnesota Vikings will return to U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 8 to take on another NFC North opponent in the Detroit Lions. The Vikings will have their usual two match-ups with the Lions in 2016, and one of them will fall on Thanksgiving Day. It will be Minnesota’s first Thanksgiving Day contest since they faced the Dallas Cowboys in 2000.

In keeping with the series we’ve started, we have a look at the Lions courtesy of our friends at SB Nation’s Lions blog, Pride of Detroit. They haven’t put together their look at us yet, so that’s something you can keep an eye out for. For now, however, here’s what we have to look forward to from the Lions.

Date and Time of Games

6 November 2016, 12:00 PM Central Time, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota

24 November 2016 (Thanksgiving), 11:30 AM Central Time, Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan

Notable free agent additions

WR Marvin Jones, OT Geoff Schwartz, DB Tavon Wilson, DE Wallace Gilberry, RB Stevan Ridley, SS Rafael Bush

Notable free agent departures

WR Calvin Johnson (retirement), SS Isa Abdul-Quddus, RB Joique Bell, DE Jason Jones

Trades

Received LB Jon Bostic for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies

1st round - OT - Taylor Decker (expected to start at left tackle)

2nd round - DT - A’Shawn Robinson (rotational player)

3rd round - C - Graham Glasgow - not currently slated as the starting center, but could take over sometime during the 2016 season.

4th round - SS - Miles Killebrew - Also not slated to be the starter, but Lions are weak at the position, so Killebrew could take over, or at least get some snaps during the season.

Biggest offseason addition

WR - Marvin Jones. With Calvin Johnson’s retirement, the Lions’ No. 1 priority was to find a compliment to Golden Tate. The Lions wasted no time in grabbing Jones, signing him within a day of Johnson’s retirement announcement. Taylor Decker is an honorable mention here, as the Lions’ offensive line was atrocious in 2015.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp

Will the emphasis on improving the offensive line pay off in 2016? The Lions offense hasn’t been good in a while, but the Lions spent three of their first five draft picks on offensive linemen in 2016. It appears the Lions will be moving former left tackle Riley Reiff to the right side, while plugging in first-round draft pick Taylor Decker on the left. The Lions desperately need to get a running game going, and the shuffling of the offensive line could potentially help.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp

Is DeAndre Levy fully healthy, and if so, will his return improve the defense to its 2014 level of play? Levy had a mysterious hip injury in 2015, and while it appears he was fully healthy during OTAs and minicamp, still very little is known about the injury and his current health.

Notable injuries heading into training camp

RB Ameer Abdullah - Had shoulder surgery in January, is expected to be ready for training camp.

TE Brandon Pettigrew - Tore his ACL in December. Did not participate in OTAs. Probably headed for PUP.

RB Stevan Ridley - Limited participation in OTAs; injury undisclosed, severity unknown

WR Corey Fuller - Underwent foot surgery in early June. Could cause him to miss the cut.