It’s time for our weekly breakdown on the history of the Vikings and Detroit Lions, and this is a pretty fun one to look back on since the Vikings have mostly dominated this series. This will be the 115th meeting between Detroit and Minnesota, since they’re a division rival, and if you’d like to peruse the full history, check out the head to head page at Pro Football Reference.
Total Games Between the Lions and Vikings: 114
All-Time Record: Vikings, 73-39-2
Total Vikings Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 2,456 (21.5 points/game)
Total Lions Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 2,108 (18.5 points/game)
Longest Vikings Winning Streak vs. Lions: 13 (6 October 1968 - 22 Sept 1974)
Longest Lions Winning Streak vs. Vikings: 5 (19 November 1961 - 27 October 1963)
Most Recent Vikings Victory in Detroit: 23 November 2017 (Final score 30-23)
Most Recent Lions Victory in Detroit: 24 November 2016 (Final score 16-13)
Biggest Vikings Victory in Detroit: 24 points, 24 September 1972 (Final score 34-10)
Biggest Lions Victory in Detroit: 38 points, 12 Dec 1981 (Final score 45-7)
Current Win Streak: Vikings, 2 games
The Vikes have mostly dominated this series, other than the first expansion years of the Vikings in the early 1960’s. That’s because the Vikings have been a mostly decent to good team, and the Lions haven’t been. Even in some of the more down periods for the Vikes, they’ve still managed to mostly take care of business against Detroit. Not only has Minnesota had that 13 game winning streak during the heyday of the Purple People Eaters, but from 2002-2010, Minnesota won a rather remarkable 16 of 17 games.
Since the Lions drafted Matthew Stafford, though, Minnesota has only gone 10-9 against Detroit, and they’ve become a much tougher opponent to beat. In the Mike Zimmer era, the Vikes are 6-3 against Chicago, 5-4-1 against Green Bay, but only 4-5 against the Lions. Stafford went 2-0 in his first two starts at US Bank Stadium, too, until Minnesota won earlier this year 24-9.
There have been some memorable moments on the field in Detroit, too. The Vikings first Thanksgiving Day game was against Detroit in 1969, and it was a classic old school NFC Central game, played in the mud and snow. The highlight of the game was Jim Marshall recovering a fumble and lateraling it to Alan Page, who scored from 15 yards out en route to a 24-0 victory (play is at about the 22:40 mark...but watch this whole show if you haven’t seen it):
More recently, there was a big Thanksgiving Day win last year, and Adrian Peterson taking his first carry of the season 75 yards for a touchdown in 2015.
With a wildcard spot on the line for the Vikings, a rejuvenated offense, and a Lions team that is hobbled and struggling under first year coach Matt ‘Sit Up Straight’ Patricia, the recipe is there for another win for Minnesota.
Here’s to another memorable moment on Sunday.