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Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: Key information and first quarter discussion

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The final road game of the regular season is upon us!

Miami Dolphins v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

We are less than an hour away from kickoff at Ford Field, ladies and gentlemen, for the start of the final road game of the 2018 regular season for your Minnesota Vikings. They’ll be taking on their division rivals, the Detroit Lions, in a game that could push them one step closer to finding themselves in the 2018 NFC playoffs. They can even clinch a spot today if they should win and get some help from the Houston Texans.

So, let’s go over everything you need to know about this one.

Time: Sunday, 23 December, noon Central time

Location: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

Television coverage: KMSP-9 in the Twin Cities, FOX affiliates throughout the country, DirecTV Ch 712

Radio coverage: Vikings Radio Network, Sirius Channel 106, XM Channel 231 (DET feed)

Line: Minnesota -6.5, Over/Under 43.5

Prediction: Vikings 31, Lions 17

Three keys

1) Limit mistakes. . .again - We hammer this one just about every week, but the Vikings win football games when they don’t make mistakes, and they lose football games when they do. We saw a huge mistake from Kirk Cousins in last week’s game, but the purple were able to overcome it. If this team can take care of the football and not give the Lions extra possessions, they should be able to get themselves a victory in this one.

2) Keep the offense balanced - Last week, the Vikings made a serious commitment to the run game, and both Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray benefited from the change. That might be a bit more difficult to do against the Lions, unless “Snacks” Harrison is out of today’s contest, but they still have to at least attempt to balance things out. Kevin Stefanski called a game plan last week that played to the Vikings’ strengths on offense, particularly those of Kirk Cousins, and they need to continue that trend in Detroit.

3) Continue to hammer Matthew Stafford - The last time these two teams met, the Vikings sacked Stafford a franchise-record ten times. Today, Stafford is coming into practice dealing with a back injury that limited him in practice all week, and his already limited mobility will be reduced as a result. Mike Zimmer’s defense blitzed a lot against Miami last week when Ryan Tannehill was in a similar situation, and the result was nine sacks (eight in the second half). Can we expect a similar performance today?

Know the Foe: Pride of Detroit

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Just a friendly reminder that we will have a brand new Open Thread at the start of each quarter, so keep your eyes open for those. In the meantime, everybody enjoy the game, and who knows. . .when it’s all said and done, we might be celebrating the Minnesota Vikings returning to the postseason. Hopefully we will be, anyway.

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!