Every week during the regular season, the opposing head coach and sometimes a player speak to the Detroit media via conference call. This week it was only Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on the conference call, but I perused vikings.com and Twitter to see what else Vikings players were saying about Sunday's NFC North matchup.
So, what did they have to say?
1. The Vikings have not named a starting quarterback yet for Sunday. Sam Bradford (knee) missed the last two games with Case Keenum filling in. Bradford sat out practice Wednesday.
View photos of the starters for the Minnesota Vikings
2. Zimmer joked that he wished he wouldn't have to keep finding out how his team reacts to adversity at the quarterback position, but likes the way they've responded to Bradford's early knee troubles. Last year the Vikings lost Teddy Bridgewater right before the start of the regular season, and had to trade for Bradford.
"I'm not the quarterback whisperer, I guess," Zimmer joked.
3. Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen spoke to the Minnesota media Wednesday, and took a shot at Lions left tackle Greg Robinson. According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Everson said this of Robinson: "To be honest, he's kind of lazy. He gets beat on the inside. He's got to compete more."
Griffen has four sacks in three games. His matchup with Robinson on Sunday just got a little more interesting.
4. When asked about his thoughts on Detroit's defense early on this year, the first thing Zimmer pointed to were the seven interceptions the Lions have early in the year. As a team, the Lions are plus-six in turnover differential. When Zimmer looks at film of the Lions' defense, he sees a defense that is fast, physical and plays tight coverage in the back end. He said Teryl Austin does a great job with his scheme. He expects this to be "a much better test" for his passing game this week.
5. Keenum said he's had some conversations with left tackle Riley Reiff about what Detroit likes to do upfront defensively. Reiff spent the first five years of his career in Detroit.
6. The Vikings were thrilled when running back Dalvin Cook was still on the board in the second round of the draft. Zimmer said the team thought Cook was going to be really good, and he's shown to be the same player in the pros he was in college. Zimmer likes how he's quick to the hole and accelerates. Cook is second in the NFL in rushing (288), and third in yards from scrimmage (370).
7. Vikings receiver Adam Thielen said the difficulty of going up against Lions cornerback Darius Slay is that not only is Slay fast, but he's also quick, and he uses both to his advantage.
8. The tough thing about matching up with Detroit, according to Zimmer, is that the Lions have shown they can beat teams early on in all three phases. Offensively, he commented on all the weapons the Lions have at receiver, tight end and running back. Defensively, Zimmer said Detroit is fundamentally sound and opportunistic. On special teams, he said Matt Prater can beat a team from anywhere on the field, and commented that the Lions already have a return touchdown.
"I just think overall they're a really good football team," Zimmer said.
9. Zimmer joked that he's still getting used to the fact that his offense currently ranks second in the NFL at over 400 yards per game. Over the years, that's been a weakness in Minnesota. Amazingly, the Vikings have three players – Cook, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs – that rank in the top 10 in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage. No other team has more than one. Zimmer thinks the improved run game has been the key early on. It's opened up the pass game, in Zimmer's opinion.
10. Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson called Matthew Stafford an "elite" guy. He said it was key for Minnesota's pass rushers to stay in their lanes, and not allow Stafford to extend plays or beat them with his legs.