Every week during the regular season Tim Twentyman will answer 10 good questions from his Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman."
20man: They might not have to. Here's the current situation:
Lions head coach Matt Patricia opened his Thursday press conference by saying he couldn't comment on the health status of quarterback Matthew Stafford or his availability for Sunday's game in Minnesota. But if Stafford is on the list due to close contact and not testing positive himself, which hasn't been confirmed by the team but is a possibility, he'll have to quarantine for five days and then test negative before returning.
Depending on when that contact took place, Stafford could still technically play Sunday if that fifth day falls before Sunday. We'll just have to wait and see.
20man: Defensive end Everson Griffen had his first practice with the Lions Wednesday. Patricia said the veteran practiced with a high motor and looked good. With Trey Flowers on IR and not available Sunday, I'd guess we see a good amount of Griffen.
This isn't a situation where Grifffen is coming off the street and hasn't played or practiced. He's played at least 30 snaps in seven games for Dallas before coming over in a trade. I expect to see him quite a bit, actually, and he could be pretty motivated going back to Minnesota and playing his former team.
20man: It's a numbers game. The Lions view their situation along the offensive line as having six starters, including Tyrell Crosby. Unfortunately, only five guys can play.
The team spent resources in free agency to sign Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and they did so with the expectation he'd play right tackle. They had to shift some things around because of the injury to guard Joe Dahl, but once Dahl was back off IR and up to speed, it was expected he'd rejoin the starting lineup. That really left the Lions with a decision between Vaitai and Crosby at right tackle.
Vaitai allowed one sack last week, and that was the only pressure he was credited with allowing by Pro Football Focus statistics. Like just about every one of Detroit's offensive linemen last week, he didn't have a great run-blocking grade.
Crosby has allowed two sacks and 12 total pressures playing right tackle, which are respectable numbers.
It really just comes down to a coaching decision. The Lions signed Vaitai to play right tackle, they pay him to play right tackle, and that's where they've decided to go for the time being.
Crosby could still see some playing time this week depending on the health status of Taylor Decker (back), Dahl (back) and Vaitai (foot), who have all missed some practice time.
20man: Yeah, I thought they were a little too conservative on early downs last week. It put them in some long second and third down situations, and it allowed the Colts to pin their ears back and get after Stafford.
I know offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell wants to be balanced on offense, but I'd agree they have to find a way to be more productive on first down, especially when the run game was having a hard time getting going last week. Detroit currently ranks 29th in first-down efficiency (first down plays that gain four-plus yards) at just 43.4 percent.
20man: I still look to the Arizona game as a glimpse at what this team can do when they play consistent football for four quarters. Obviously, we haven't seen enough of it, especially against some of the other good teams on their schedule so far like the Packers and Colts.
Somehow this team has to find a way to put it all together more consistently, because there is talent on this roster. The next four games are the big test for me. Minnesota, Washington, Carolina and Houston, Detroit's next four opponents, are a combined 6-21 heading into this weekend. Detroit hasn't lost to a team with a losing record yet this season.
20man: It's a hip injury for wide receiver Kenny Golladay. The team has not deemed it serious enough at this point to place him on IR, which would mean he'd have to miss at least three games.
Hearing Patricia refer to Golladay as day-to-day and week-to-week earlier in the week, plus the fact the team didn't place him on IR, makes me think this is a one or two-week type injury. If he doesn't practice this week, it's likely he won't play Sunday against the Vikings. But there might be a chance vs. Washington and it would certainly seem like a good chance against Carolina in three weeks having not placed him on IR. It just depends on how the injury heals.
20man: If Golladay doesn't play Sunday, I expect Marvin Hall and rookie Quintez Cephus to be active and in the game plan. The Lions like Hall's speed, and I'm a little intrigued at what kind of stress that might put on the backend of the Vikings' defense, and how that might benefit Detroit's other pass catchers.
Cephus has been a healthy scratch the last few weeks, but he's been splitting time with the offense and scout teams, so he'll be ready if called upon. He was targeted 13 times by Stafford the first two weeks of the season when Golladay was out with a hamstring injury.
20man: The team doesn't comment on the health or status of players on the COVID-19 list, but for the sake of answering your question, if Davis can't play, the biggest impact will be on special teams. Davis still plays a role on defense, and I think he's played better there in a reduced role the last few weeks, but he's really made an impact on special teams.
Davis has accepted his new roles on defense and special teams. He's put his head down and gone to work. Credit him for that. Not all former first-round picks would probably handle that the same way. He's a captain and team leader, and they'll miss him if he can't play.
20man: Rookie running back D'Andre Swift has 23 receptions on the year, which is second on the team to only tight end T.J. Hockenson (29). I wonder if you're referencing the screen play last week that was set up beautifully to Kerryon Johnson, but didn't turn into a big play because of a missed block and then Johnson stumbled a bit. I think part of the reason that was set up so well was because it caught the defense a bit off guard because Johnson was in the game.
Johnson plays a lot on third down because he's one of the best pass-protecting backs in the NFL by the analytics. He passes the eye test there, too. I'm not saying Swift can't protect, but Johnson is better at this point. There's a lot of trust there that Johnson can pick up a blitzer or make a block to extend a play. To keep defenses honest on third down, you also have to show on film that you're willing to throw to him and let him be a playmaker in the passing game. He's a very capable receiver, and he made a really nice play on his touchdown grab last week.
Swift will continue to get a lot of play in the passing game, but they like Johnson in that part of the game as well, and will continue to use both guys.
20man: That's a question probably only Stafford can answer. I will say this, every time the subject about his contract status or future has been brought up to him, he's never said anything other than he wants to be in Detroit long-term. Certainly circumstances can always change.
From a team perspective, Stafford's contract runs through 2022 with a cap hit of $34.95 million in 2021 and $27.95 million in 2022, per spotrac.com numbers. Those are very reasonable numbers considering the recent contracts signed at the position.
Stafford is 32 years old and still playing at a pretty high level, so it will probably just be up to Stafford on how long and where he wants to play after his current deal is up.