Opponent: Minnesota Vikings
Locations: U.S. Bank Stadium (Week 5) & Ford Field (Week 13)
Weeks/Dates: Week 5, Sunday Oct. 10 at 1:00 p.m. & Week 13, Sunday Dec. 5 at 1:00 p.m.
TV/radio: FOX/97.1 & CBS/97.1 FM
Livestream: Detroit Lions Mobile App
Previous matchup: Jan. 3, 2021: The Vikings withstood a late rally, beating the Lions 37-35 to close out the 2020-21 regular season.
Why these games matter: All division games matter a little more, and this first matchup against the Vikings is the second of the team's first back-to-back road games after playing in Chicago the week prior. The Lions will have played all three of their division opponents in the first five weeks of the season, and we'll start to have a good idea of just how this division is starting to shake up.
The second matchup Week 13 is the second of consecutive division games after hosting Chicago the week prior on Thanksgiving. The Lions get a mini bye week to prepare for the second matchup vs. the Vikings coming off a Thursday Thanksgiving game the week prior. – Tim Twentyman
Crucial matchup: Putting together defenses with strong pass rushes is how Mike Zimmer has made his reputation as head coach of the Vikings the last seven seasons and as an assistant and coordinator before that.
Based on Zimmer's track record, expect the 2021 Vikings to perform more like they did in 2018 and 2019 when they ranked near the top of the NFL with 50 and 48 sacks respectively than the injury-shredded unit that had only 23 in 2020. If the Vikings are back in form, protecting the quarterback will be a key matchup for the Lions.
A lot will depend on injuries in terms of individual matchups. In a Week 5 game, the Lions' offensive line will have had plenty of time to work together and develop cohesion and chemistry as a unit. This unit is expected to be good. This is a time to show it. – Mike O'Hara
Rookie watch: Vikings first-round pick Christian Darrisaw is expected to be the starter at left tackle and help solidify Minnesota's offensive front. The Lions plan to be much more attacking on defense with their front seven under new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.
WEEK 5 · Sun 10/03 · 1:00 PM EDT