MINNEAPOLIS – For the second straight week, the Lions' defense will be without starting MIKE linebacker Jarrad Davis.
Davis missed last week's game with a concussion. He was limited all week in practice, and a neck injury was added to his injury report on Friday. Either concussion related symptoms or his neck injury will keep him out for a second game in a row.
Davis is one of Detroit's best defenders against the run, and without him last week, the Lions' defense allowed 151 rushing yards to the Atlanta Falcons in a loss. Davis was Detroit's leading tackler through the first two weeks (both wins), and he's graded as the 11th best linebacker against the run by Pro Football Focus.
Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook is currently second in the NFL in rushing with 288 yards in three games.
Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin did say this week however that Detroit's performance against the run last week wasn't solely because of Davis missing the game. He said the film showed a lack of communication in some of their run fits and too many missed tackles. He said they'd be better in both areas this week.
The Lions' defense did get some good news when it comes to starting strong safety Tavon Wilson and his injured shoulder. Wilson also missed last week's game, and limited all week at practice wearing a red no-contact jersey, but will give it a go today.
Wilson's return means Detroit can go back to the rotation in some of its sub packages on defense that were successful early in the year in wins over Arizona and New York, specifically the extra safety look.
Offensively, the Lions will be without receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring), but do get center Travis Swanson back.
Swanson missed last week's game with an ankle injury he suffered Week 2 vs. the Giants. His return means Graham Glasgow can shift back over to left guard and the Lions will start the same offensive line that began the season and played well in the first two games of the season.
With Golladay out, TJ Jones steps into the third receiver role and Jared Abbrederis is active for the first time this season.
Also active for the first time is rookie cornerback Teez Tabor.
Joining Davis and Golladay on Detroit's inactive list are: Safety Don Carey, running back Dwayne Washington, running back Tion Green, guard Tim Lelito and linebacker Thurston Armbrister.