Week 4: Minnesota Vikings At Detroit Lions
- QuarterbackThe Vikings are off to a surprising 2-1 start thanks in large part to the improvement of Christian Ponder at quarterback. While he is known for his athleticism, Ponder is playing with poise, know-how and confidence early in the season.Matthew Stafford was forced to the bench after suffering a leg muscle strain vs. the Titans, but it seems that he has a good chance to play vs. the Vikings. Backup Shaun Hill was sensational in relief, but the Lions are better with Stafford’s strong arm and quick release than they are with a “hot” No. 2 quarterback.
- OffenseWhile the play of Ponder may be surprising for the Vikings, the running game is in the hands of one of the most dependable players in the league in Adrian Peterson. Wide receiver Percy Harvin has the natural gifts needed to star at the position, but his know-how and desire have helped make him a go-to guy. The offensive line is solid and getting better each week.The Lions probably have the most unstoppable wide out in the league in Calvin Johnson. The loss in Week Three to the Titans will set him up for a big effort. Nate Burleson is rapidly becoming one of the best No. 2 receivers in the league.
- DefenseThe Vikings are starting to take on the personality of head coach Leslie Frazier and defensive coordinator Alan Williams. They are tough and nasty and will not let opponents run on them. Defensive Jared Allen is still one of the best pass rushers in the league.The Lions are looking forward to getting back home because the defense looked lost on the road against Tennessee. The Lions need to tackle better than they have so far early in the season. That means the LB crew, led by Stephen Tulloch has to better. The secondary is quite leaky at this point.
- Special TeamsThe Vikings are getting a huge boost from placekicker Blair Walsh, who has made 7-of-7 field goal attempts, including a 55-yarder. Punter Chris Kluwe has a solid leg and averaged 45.2 yards per punt vs. the 49ers.The Lions are coming off a special teams disaster against the Titans. They gave up a punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter and a kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Placekicker Jason Hanson is stable.
The Lions are coming off a sensational come-from-behind effort that ended in heartbreak. Despite scoring two TDs in the last minute against the Titans, they still lost in overtime based on head coach Jim Schwartz’s horrible game management. The Vikings are on a high after beating the 49ers, but the question is can they sustain their strong early-season play.