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Game Preview: Vikings at Lions

Game Preview: Vikings at Lions

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MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT DETROIT LIONS
WEEK 1 • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2013 – NOON CT
The Minnesota Vikings open the 2013 regular season Sunday, September 8 at the Detroit Lions. Kickoff is set for noon central at Ford Field. The Vikings, the NFL’s second youngest playoff team in 2012, open the regular season in a road divisional game for the 1st time since 2008. The Vikings open at Detroit for only the 2nd time in franchise history, the other coming in 1971. The Vikings hosted Detroit for the opener in 1986 and 1987.

2012 NFL MVP RB Adrian Peterson is coming off a record-breaking season after rushing for 2,097 yards. Joining Peterson for the 2013 campaign is free agent WR Greg Jennings and 2013 1st round selections DT Sharrif Floyd, CB Xavier Rhodes and WR Cordarrelle Patterson. Vikings QB Christian Ponder enters his 2nd full season as the starting QB after posting career highs in yards, completion %, TDs and QB rating in 2012.

The Vikings swept the season series against the Lions in 2012 and seek their second consecutive regular season opener victory. In the 2012 opener, the Vikings beat the Jaguars in OT, 26-23, behind a 2-TD performance from Peterson and 4 FGs from then-rookie K Blair Walsh.

TELEVISION: FOX (Channel 9 in the Twin Cities)
Play-By-Play: Thom Brennaman Analyst: Brian Billick
Sideline Reporter: Laura Okmin

RADIO: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTCN-AM 1130
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline Reporter: Greg Coleman
Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 10:00 a.m. CT

KFAN and KTCN serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, 5-state Vikings Radio Network.

NORSEMAN NOTABLES
• RB Adrian Peterson holds team opening day records with 180 rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs set against Cleveland on September 13, 2009.
• In 2012 vs. Jacksonville, Blair Walsh set the team record for FGs made (4) in an opening game. Walsh also had the longest FG made (55) by a Viking during a season opener.
• RB Adrian Peterson ranked 2nd in NFL history and led the NFL in 2012 with 2,097 rushing yards. Peterson’s rushing total ranked better than 24 NFL teams in 2012.
• With 2,634 rushing yards as a team in 2012, the Vikings tied a franchise record set in 2007 for team rushing yards in a season. The Vikings also set a new team record with 5.4 yards per carry.
• With a +7 differential, the Vikings had their biggest jump in win totals from 1 season to the next in 2012 going from 3 to 10 wins. From 1997 to 1998, the Vikings increased their wins +6.
• K Blair Walsh set a new NFL record with 10 FGs of 50+ yards in a single season in 2012.
• S Harrison Smith and T Matt Kalil started all 16 games as rookie 1st-round draft picks in 2012.
• TE Kyle Rudolph tied for 2nd in the League among all TEs with 9 TD catches and was 2nd in Vikings history for TDs by a TE in a season in 2012.
• The Vikings return the same 5 offensive lineman who started all 16 games together during 2012.
• DE Jared Allen recorded 10+ sacks for the 6th straight season during the 2012 campaign.
• LB Chad Greenway has led the team in tackles 5 years in a row, which is 2nd only to Scott Studwell’s 6 straight seasons.
• DT Kevin Williams begins his 11th season in Minnesota and is the longest tenured pro athlete in the Twin Cities. He has started all 156 career games he has played.
• In 2012, the Vikings had 7 players earn Pro Bowl honors – DE Jared Allen, FB Jerome Felton,
LB Chad Greenway, T Matt Kalil, RB Adrian Peterson, TE Kyle Rudolph (MVP), K Blair Walsh.

VIKINGS-LIONS CONNECTIONS
• Lions WR Nate Burleson played for the Vikings from 2003-05, recording career highs in both yards (1,006) and TDs (9) in 2004. Burleson was a 3rd round pick (71st overall) of the Vikings in 2003.
• Lions QB Shaun Hill played from 2002-06 with the Vikings. Hill signed with the Vikings as an undrafted rookie free agent.
• Detroit’s Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan spent 2002-04 with the Vikings as the Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach.
• Lions QB Coach Todd Downing, an Eden Prairie, Minn. native, got his start with the Vikings as a football systems analyst from 2003-04 and the Offensive Quality Control Coach in 2005.
• Silas McKinnie, a regional scout for the Lions, spent 5 seasons (1997-2002) at the same position with the Vikings.
• Rick Spielman, the Vikings GM, received his 1st NFL personnel experience with the Lions serving as a college scout from 1990-94 before adding pro scouting duties in his final 2 seasons (95-96) with the Lions.
• Vikings TE Coach Jimmie Johnson played TE for the Lions from 1992-93.
• Vikings Personnel Consultant Jerry Reichow was a 4th-round pick in 1956 by Detroit and helped the Lions to their last NFL title in 1957.
• Kevin Warren, the Vikings VP of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer, spent 2001-03 with the Detroit Lions as Senior VP of Business Operations and General Counsel.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS
• Vikings WR Greg Jennings is a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., attended Kalamazoo Central High and starred at Western Michigan University.
• Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz served as a graduate assistant coach for the University of Minnesota football team in 1990.
• Lions Assistant Director of Pro Personnel Charlie Sanders played for the University of Minnesota and was drafted in the 3rd-round of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Lions.
• Vikings DB Coach Joe Woods coached at a trio of Michigan schools before landing in the NFL. Woods coached at Eastern Michigan (1993), Grand Valley State (1994-96) and Western Michigan (2001-03).
• Vikings C Joe Berger is a Newaygo, Mich. native and attended Michigan Tech. Also a Michigan native, Vikings LB Audie Cole is from Monroe, Mich.
• Vikings Defensive Assistant Coach Jeff Imamura coached at Saginaw Valley State and Vikings FB Zach Line hails from Oxford, Mich.

NFL CONNECTIONS
• Lions C Dylan Gandy and T Corey Hilliard both played under Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams for the Indianapolis Colts. Gandy and Hilliard were also in Indianapolis while Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier, and Vikings G Charlie Johnson were with the organization.
• Lions TE Tony Scheffler and Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer were both with the Denver Broncos for the 2009 season.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS
• Lions WR Ryan Broyles and LB Travis Lewis played the 2008 season at Oklahoma with Vikings T Phil Loadholt. The trio helped the Sooners claim the Big 12 Championship that season.
• Lions C Corey Hilliard (2003-06), TE Brandon Pettigrew (2003-06) and Vikings G Charlie Johnson (2002-05) all spent time together at Oklahoma State.
• Lions LB Ashlee Palmer and Vikings S Jamarca Sanford were teammates for 2 seasons (2007-08) at Ole Miss
• Vikings K Blair Walsh and Lions QB Matthew Stafford were teammates at Georgia for the 2008 season.

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. LIONS
• DE Jared Allen recorded a total of 6.0 sacks in 2 games against the Lions in 2011. Allen finished the season with 22.0 sacks, setting a new Vikings single-season record for sacks and finishing just 1.0 sack short of breaking the NFL’s single-season sack record.
• LB Chad Greenway set a career-high with 2 INT against the Lions on 9/20/09. Greenway added 3 tackles in a Vikings 27-13 win.
• In the last meeting between the Vikings and Lions on 11/11/12, RB Adrian Peterson rushed for 171 yards and 1 TD. His 171 yards pushed him over 1,000 yards rushing in the 2012 season, setting a team record for most career 1,000 yards rushing seasons (5).
• DT Letroy Guion notched a career-best 2.0 sacks against Detroit on 9/30/12 at Detroit.
• CB Marcus Sherels returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown in the Vikings 20-13 win over the Lions on 9/30/12. The Vikings also scored a kickoff return TD in the game, marking the 3rd time in team history scoring on a PR and KR in the same game.

VIKINGS-LIONS SERIES NOTES
• The Vikings and Lions have played 103 times overall with Minnesota holding a 68-33-2 series record.
• The last time the Vikings and Lions met was in Week 10 of the 2012 season at Mall of America Field, a Vikings 34-24 win.
• This will be the fifth regular season meeting between Minnesota and Detroit since Leslie Frazier became head coach of the Vikings. His record is 2-2 against the Lions.
• The Vikings and Lions have played two overtime games in series history. In 2007, the Lions won 20-17 at Ford Field. In Week 3 of the 2011 season, the Lions again won on a field goal, 26-23.
• The Vikings are currently 31-20-1when playing at Detroit. The Vikings won their last trip to Ford Field 20-13 in 2012.
• The Vikings and Lions have never met in the playoffs.
• The Vikings and Lions have opened up the regular season against each other four times. The Vikings hold a 3-1 advantage in those games.

A WIN WOULD…
• Extend the Vikings regular season win streak to 5 games
• Give the Vikings their 30th win in a regular season opener
• Improve the Vikings record against the NFC to 348-275-9 all time.
• Improve the Vikings record against the NFC North to 171-135-5 all time.
• Improve Minnesota’s record to 69-33-2 in the overall series.
• Give the Vikings their third straight win over Detroit.

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