Previewing This Week’s Vikings Game: Week 18 at Detroit Lions

Opponents in 2024
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The Minnesota Vikings are just a couple days away from closing out their 2023 regular season with a matchup against the Detroit Lions.

Minnesota enters the weekend with a 7-9 record, but despite a losing record officially being guaranteed this season, they still have slim playoff hopes for next weekend if they can earn a victory and get some help from other teams. With this final weekend of the regular season looming, here is a look at everything you need to know about this week’s Vikings game against their rivals.

How to Watch This Week’s Vikings Game

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend’s game between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings is set to take place at 12 PM Central on Sunday, January 7th. The game will be broadcast on FOX, so folks in the Twin Cities area can watch on FOX9 while it can be streamed on NFL+ or NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV.

Lions/Vikings History

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
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Throughout the histories of the two franchises, the Lions and Vikings have met a total of 124 times. The Vikings have dominated this matchup in the past with a record of 80-42-2 in the all-time series.

The Vikings won eight straight meetings between the two teams from 2017-2021, but in recent years, it hasn’t been easy. The Lions have won three of the past four meetings, including the most recent game in Week 16, which Detroit won 30-24.

Battle for Playoff Seeding

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings still have a chance to make the playoffs if they are able to knock off the Lions on Sunday. In addition to that win, though, they would also need the following things to occur on Sunday:

  • Packers lose vs. Bears
  • Buccaneers lose at Panthers OR Saints lose vs. Falcons
  • Seahawks lose at Cardinals

Meanwhile, the Lions currently sit at the No. 3 seed in the NFC and can improve their own positioning if they win. In order to do that, though, they would need the Cowboys to lose at Washington and the Eagles to lose at the New York Giants. Both NFC East squads are heavily favored in their matchups, so this would be a longshot but still a possibility. As a result, the Lions are not expected to rest many (if any) starters.

Vikings Spotlight Player: OLB Pat Jones

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Despite losing D.J. Wonnum to a partially torn quad in the first meeting between these two teams, the Vikings still found a way to put together a solid pass-rush against the Lions and QB Jared Goff. A big reason for that was the performance that Pat Jones put together in the second half.

The third-year pass-rusher put together three tackles for loss and his first sack of the season. The Vikings will need a similar type of performance from Jones if they hope to upset Detroit.

Lions Spotlight Player: CB Ifeatu Melifonwu

Vikings Game
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions defense hasn’t necessarily been an elite unit this year, but they have seen drastic improvements in pass coverage this season compared to 2022. One part of that, particularly in recent weeks, has been CB Ifeatu Melifonwu.

Melifonwu had a huge game the first time Detroit played against the Vikings, recording a pair of sacks and and a key interception in the fourth quarter. He then followed that game up with another interception against the Cowboys last weekend. The Vikings will need to be wary of Melifonwu’s presence on Sunday.

NOTE: This article originally appeared on our sister-site, PurplePTSD.com.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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