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Week 14 Game Recap: Detroit Lions 7, Minnesota Vikings 20


What you need to know

Detroit Lions

David Blough struggled with accuracy and decision-making in his second career start on Sunday against the Vikings. Blough threw two interceptions and outside of a touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay held back the Detroit offense. Bo Scarbrough started and had a heavy workload but left the game with a rib injury in the second half.

Minnesota Vikings

It was not the high scoring affair we saw between these 2 teams earlier in the season, but the end result was the same with a Vikings win. Minnesota got a much needed win to stay ahead in the wild card race and more to 9-4. They have an impressive 6-0 record at home and were able to overcome injuries and some less than stellar defensive play in the past few weeks. Dalvin Cook pushed through a chest injury and suited up this week. He was not his most effective and did not come anywhere close to his stat line from their first game, but he did score a touchdown. Adam Thielen was ruled out again this week and continues to nurse a hamstring injury. Stefon Diggs led the receiving core again this week and then it was a steep drop off after that. The defense came away with 5 sacks and 2 interceptions of David Blough and most importantly were able to contain Marvin Jones this week. Minnesota plays the Chargers in Los Angeles next week before 2 pivotal conference opponents to close the season. The NFC is very top heavy this season and the Vikings will have to continue to win to guarantee even a wild card spot.

Detroit Lions

QB David Blough, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 40 - 205 - 1 TD / 2 INT
David Blough struggled in his second career start against the Vikings on Sunday. Blough was under pressure frequently and struggled with accuracy when he was forced to move his feet, including sailing an interception down the middle of the field. Blough was also picked off late in the game in the end zone. He did throw a touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay in the end zone in contested coverage. Blough has arm strength limitations, which were on display during the game. He also struggled with decision-making, including taking multiple bad sacks during the game. Blough will get a good matchup next week against Tampa Bay at home.

RB Bo Scarbrough, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 65 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (3 targets)
Bo Scarbrough started on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings but left the game with a rib injury in the second half. Detroit never got a rhythm established with third string quarterback David Blough starting in place of an injured Matthew Stafford, but Scarbrough managed to carry the ball 19 times before exiting the game. Scarbrough was also targeted twice, catching one while the other was an inaccurate attempt. Scarbrough has a long injury history dating back to college, so his status will be important to monitor during the week. He faces Tampa Bay at home in week 15.

WR Kenny Golladay, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 58 - 1 (8 targets)
Kenny Golladay lead the Lions in receiving against the Vikings in a loss on Sunday. The entire offense struggled behind third-string quarterback David Blough. Golladay was the recipient of multiple errant targets from Blough, including a ball over the middle that sailed for an interception. He added a touchdown in the second half, on a good adjustment in a contested throw in the end zone. Golladay projects for a good matchup next week against Tampa Bay at home, but he needs to get better quarterback play to maximize the opportunity.

WR Danny Amendola, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 34 - 0 (8 targets)
Danny Amendola struggled against the Vikings on Sunday against the Vikings. Amendola had multiple drops and his work was confined to the short area of the field. Amendola projects as a better fit than Kenny Golladay or Marvin Jones for David Blough because of Blough’s arm strength limitations. Amendola gets a good matchup next week against Tampa Bay.

WR Marvin Jones, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 38 - 0 (7 targets)
Marvin Jones had a down week against the Vikings on the road on Sunday. Jones was hindered by backup quarterback David Blough who struggled under pressure and was inaccurate during the game. Jones had a quiet half outside of a comeback along the sideline but had two catches when Lions were down multiple scores later in the second half. Jones also had a drop. He has a good matchup next week at home against Tampa Bay, but will miss it as he has gone on injured reserve with an ankle injury.


Minnesota Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 30 - 242 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0
It was not a repeat of the 337 yards and 4 touchdowns he threw in week 7 against the Lions, but Cousins was able to rebound and do enough this week to help the Vikings get the win. He completed 80% of his passes, threw 1 touchdown to Bisi Johnson, and most importantly did not turn over the football. The offensive line did a great job in protection this week with Cousins only being sacked a single time for a loss of 8 yards. His touchdown to Johnson came late in the 1st quarter and went for 9 yards in the back of the end zone. It was a play-action pass with Johnson running a drag route in the back of the end zone. He had a step on his man and Cousins let loose a pass that was a little high but still within reach for a leaping Johnson. It could have been an easier throw and catch but the end result was the same. His longest play of the game went deep down the side line for 44 yards to Stefon Diggs and a 36-yard pass to Treadwell across the middle. Cousins continues to love to check down to C.J. Ham and saw a screen play go for 25 yards as well. It will be a huge boost for Cousins when Thielen suits back up and the Vikings offense is at full strength. Laquon Treadwell and Bisi Johnson have stepped up in recent weeks but there is no equally the presence of Thielen on the field. Cousins needs to continue to play well and limit the turnovers in the final 3 weeks for the Vikings to make the playoffs.

RB Dalvin Cook, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 62 - 1, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets)
There was never any doubt in Cook’s mind that he was going to play this week. He came out saying that he could have returned to the game against Seattle last Monday if they had called for it. Cook was given 18 carries and 2 targets this week in the offense. The team ran the ball 39 times and even got Mike Boone into the mix in the second half when they were up 20-0. Cook’s longest run went for 9 yards and his longest catch went for 10. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry and had the all important 3-yard rushing touchdown just before half time. A 44-yard catch by Stefon Diggs set the Vikings up on the 3-yard line and Cook sprinted off the right end for the touchdown and a 17-0 lead. The Vikings gave him plenty of work this week and then pulled back when they had the game firmly in hand. Look for more of this strategy down the stretch if they get out to a comfortable lead as they try and rest their star running back for the playoffs. However, with 3 tough matchups to close the season it may be tough to rest him too much against the Chargers, Packers, and Bears.

RB Alexander Mattison, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 46 - 0, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (2 targets)
The split between Mattison and Cook this week was the closest it has been all season/ Cook had 18 carries to 14 for Mattison. Both backs had 2 targets in the passing game and made both catches. Mattison’s longest run went for 9 yards and his longest catch also went for 9. He has shown that he has a very similar skill set to Cook and is a viable option in the offense in an expanded role. The only thing that Cook did better this week was find the end zone. Mattison does not have the same ability to sniff out the end zone right now but that is something that will come with more time and experience in this offense. The Vikings eased off Cook when they had a clear lead and let Mattison take more of the load in the second half. If the chest injury to Cook lingers, look for Mattison to get more work down the stretch to ensure Cook’s health for the playoffs.

WR Stefon Diggs, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 92 - 0 (9 targets)
It was another productive week for Diggs in the offense and the only thing he did not do was find the end zone this week. He led all receivers in targets, yards, and catches this week and continues to be the big play receiver for the Vikings. Even when Thielen is healthy it is usually Diggs that is the big play receiver. His longest play went for 44 yards down the sideline. After a play fake by Cousins and rolling to his left, Diggs was open deep down the field. It is almost identical to the big plays the duo had against the Broncos a few weeks ago and the only difference was he did not walk into the end zone. Diggs averaged 15.3 yards per catch this week and needs just 3 more yards to have another 1,000-yard season.

WR Laquon Treadwell, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 42 - 0 (2 targets)
It was not the best stat line, but Treadwell is still getting looks in the offense. He was released at the beginning of the season and then brought back after injuries and the signing of Josh Doctson not working out. He still struggles with lapses in concentration at times but was able to catch both of his targets this week and finish as the second leading receiver in the offense. He took a short pass across the middle for 36 yards and the second longest play through the air for the Vikings this week. Treadwell will lose almost all value when Thielen comes back as the Vikings seem to prefer Irv Smith and Bisi Johnson in the long term.

WR Olabisi Johnson, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 1 (1 targets)
He may have only had 1 catch this week on 1 target, but it was an important one. Johnson opened the scoring for the Vikings with a touchdown catch in the 1st quarter. It was a 9-yard drag route with Johnson going up high for the catch in the back of the end zone. He had a step on his man after working through traffic and Cousins going through his play fake to Cook. The pass was a little high and behind Johnson, but he was able to stop his route and go up for the leaping catch. The 7th round pick now has 3 touchdowns on the season and has helped fill the void left by the injured Thielen.

WR Adam Thielen
It is the hamstring injury that will never end. Thielen was ruled out again this week and there is no real time table for his return. He wants to get in a full week of practice with no setbacks and feel 100% again before returning for the Vikings. He said he was never close to playing this week after missing time early in the week and only getting in a limited practice on Friday.

TE Kyle Rudolph, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)
It was a different type of game for the Vikings this week and Rudolph did not make his presence known as a pass catcher. The Vikings ran the ball 39 times to 30 pass plays and Rudolph only had 2 targets the entire game. He caught both of them for 11 yards and never had the chance to make any circus or one-handed catches in the end zone this week. He continues to be an all-around team player and will do whatever the offense needs him to from week to week. His longest catch went for 8 yards with both Tyler Conklin and Irv Smith having more targets and receiving yards this week.