The Detroit Lions get a second crack at the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday after the Vikings beat Detroit in Minnesota Week 5 on a 54-yard field goal as time expired.
The Lions are coming off another walk-off loss to the Bears on Thanksgiving, while the Vikings were defeated Sunday in San Francisco, 34-26.
The Viking are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive in Detroit, while the Lions are still looking for that elusive first win.
Here's what the Vikings are talking about ahead of this week's matchup:
1. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said running back Dalvin Cook is day-to-day with a shoulder injury suffered on Sunday, though ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Cook is expected to miss Sunday's game and potentially another game due to the injury.
Alexander Mattison is a very capable backup. He had 153 scrimmage yards vs. the Lions when Cook missed their Week 5 matchup with the Lions. Zimmer is very confident in Mattison's abilities if he's elevated into the No. 1 role.
View photos of the starters for the Minnesota Vikings.
2. Wide receiver Adam Thielen said the team is treating Sunday's game in Detroit like a playoff game.
Despite having the same record as Washington (5-6), Washington is currently the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs due to tie breakers. The Vikings are currently the No. 8 seed and on the outside looking in.
"We're excited to move to Detroit," Thielen said. "Now every game is a playoff game."
Thielen said they know Detroit is a good football team despite their record. He said they have a lot of respect for Lions head coach Dan Campbell and his willingness to do anything to get that first win.
3. Zimmer admitted that his defense is pretty decimated by injuries right now. They're without star defensive linemen Danielle Hunter (IR), Michael Pierce (IR) and Dalvin Tomlinson (Reserve/COVID-19). Linebacker Anthony Barr has been limited by a knee injury, and they just moved defensive end Everson Griffen to the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list. Minnesota comes into Sunday's contest ranked 30th in total defense and 30th against the run. That's unusual of a Zimmer-run defense.
4. Safety Xavier Woods says the focus moving forward for the Vikings is just to get to the playoffs. He said once in the playoffs, it's a whole new season and anything can happen. That certainly aligns with Thielen's comments above.
That's got to be the prevailing message in the Minnesota locker room right now, so don't expect the Vikings to come in and take the winless Lions for granted.
5. Even the major newspaper in the Minneapolis area, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, seems weary of Sunday's matchup. This was their top Vikings headline Wednesday: "Think these winless Detroit Lions will lie down Sunday? If so, you're wrong."
6. The Vikings are 5-6 after 11 games, which is exactly where they were after 11 games last year, when they finished 2-3 and 7-9 for the season and missed the playoffs.
"I feel a lot different about this team than at this time a year ago," Zimmer said. "They've shown that they have a lot of heart and fight ... we'll just play it out and see where it goes."