4 keys to victory for the Vikings vs. the Lions in Week 9

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Matthew Stafford /

Slow down the Lions early

One of the big ways for the Minnesota Vikings to get another positive result is to slow the Lions down early. Matt Patricia’s men rank No. 2 in first-quarter points scored on average with 7.9, just 0.1 lower than the top-ranked Seattle Seahawks, who have been rolling with quarterback and leading MVP candidate Russell Wilson.

They haven’t been able to replicate this as games wear on, so if Minnesota can thwart their early momentum then their chances of winning in Week 9 with improve dramatically. Matthew Stafford will be under center after coming off the reserve/COVID-19 list just in time and despite the absence of Kenny Golladay, there are still plenty of threats to take seriously.

Minnesota held Green Bay to just seven first-quarter points last week, and something similar would probably be needed in this one. The Vikings showed a marked improvement across all levels – particularly within their linebacker corps – so confidence will be high against a team that undoubtedly has some issues when the pressure is on.

You should not underestimate Stafford and the Lions. But if the Vikings can keep their offensive players from making a difference during the opening exchanges, it will give them a good chance of a second straight win.