With Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin both injured for this week’s matchup as the Minnesota Vikings host the Detroit Lions for a rematch of their week 4 matchup, the burden will fall on Chrsitian Ponder. Ponder has had quite the roller coaster of a season, starting the season 4-1 before stumbling recently and posting two performances in the last three weeks where he passed for less than 70 yards.
The special teams unit has stumbled too, after playing very well in the early part of the season. When the Lions and Vikings first played in week 4, the deciding factor in the game was the two special teams touchdowns scored by the Vikings.
In order to win this week, Minnesota needs to find the balanced approach that propelled them to their surprising start. The Vikings need to play well in all phases of the game to keep pressure on the Lions, whose path has been inverse—Detroit stumbled out of the gates this year but seems to be finding their stride recently, with wins over the Philadelphia Eagles, Seahawks, and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The biggest mismatch this week will be on special teams, where the Lions have played dreadfully this year. If the Vikings’ offense can get back on track and the defense can hold them in the game, the special teams might be able to break open the game. The Vikings have a very difficult schedule ahead, and if they hope to have a chance at the playoffs, they need to start picking up wins again.