Sunday, December 17, 2017

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

As millions of Americans celebrated and laughed with their families on Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, the Minnesota Vikings’ experience this year was not so enthusiastic as they lost to the Detroit Lions for the second time in their last four games by a score of 16-13. The win gave the Lions a sweep of the season series between the two teams for the second time in the last three years.

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Out for crucial Thanksgiving game
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Stefon Diggs and Terence Newman will miss the Minnesota Vikings’ Thanksgiving matchup with the Detroit Lions this afternoon. In a critical game set to define the standings in the NFC North, Minnesota must find a way to win without two of its most important starters.

Diggs injured his knee last week and was listed as questionable before the start of today’s game. Although he warmed up at Ford Field this morning, Diggs wasn’t healthy enough to start and should get plenty of rest before next week’s matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.

Newman battled a neck injury but was listed as doubtful throughout the week. Cordarrelle Patterson will start in place of Diggs and Trae Waynes will replace Newman at left cornerback. The full list of inactive players includes:

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    Zach Zenner
    Image courtesy of Vikings.com

    Divisional game matchups always seem to have a special feel. The stakes are inherently higher, familiarity with the opposition breeds competitive matchups and bragging rights are always in play regardless of NFL standing.

    When control of the NFC North and the inside track to win a division championship are at stake, however, the stakes are raised to an unprecedented level and every snap is treated with the utmost importance. If the opportunity to take a hard step toward being a part of the first division crown in team history wasn’t already enough, consider what it would feel like to not only sweep your hometown team as a member of a rival organization but send them into a state of desperation with regard to their chances of reaching the postseason.

    This is the opportunity running back Zach Zenner will try to make the most of when his Detroit Lions host the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on Thanksgiving.

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    Xavier Rhodes Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week
    Image courtesy of Vikings.com

    Xavier Rhodes is finally getting the national attention he deserves. After a two-interception performance against the Arizona Cardinals, Rhodes was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, the first such honor in his four-year career.

    Prior to his breakout game against the Cardinals, Rhodes had put together an impressive 2016 campaign. The former Florida State Seminole eliminated top wide receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Kelvin Benjamin early in the year, demonstrating tangible growth as a shutdown corner.

    This year, Rhodes has 29 combined tackles, four interceptions, 11 passes defended, one forced fumble and one tackle for a loss, per Minnesota’s own tallies. His four interceptions lead Mike Zimmer’s defense and represent a career-high for Rhodes, who had just two total interceptions prior to 2016.

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    Photo courtesy of vikings.com

    With each new day comes a new twist to the Vikings 2016 season. The latest being rumors circulating that running back Adrian Peterson might be primed for a late season return after leaving the Green Bay game in week two early with a knee injury.

    At the time, there was plenty of talk of the Vikings not necessarily missing Peterson and that Jerick McKinnon was a better fit for the offense moving forward. After weeks of watching the running game struggle to gain any momentum, I wondered if opinions have changed.

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