The Minnesota Vikings look to end their losing streak against the Detroit Lions

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 1: Linval Joseph /

The Minnesota Vikings have dropped three straight to the Detroit Lions, but they have a chance to end the losing streak in Detroit on Thanksgiving.

This Thursday’s Thanksgiving day matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions is arguably the most meaningful showdown the division rivals have ever had against one another.

At 8-2, the Vikings hold a two-game division lead over the Lions, but Detroit has given Minnesota one of their two losses. In result, a Lions victory on Thanksgiving doesn’t just get them one game closer to the Vikings, it seals the tie-breaker as well. On the other hand, a Vikings victory gives them a commanding three-game lead over their NFC North foe.

Essentially, this game means a lot and likely plays a large role in how the division eventually shapes out at season’s end.

Unfortunately, the Lions have had the Vikings number over their last three matchups. While Minnesota has played them hard each time, Detroit has taken advantage of mistakes made by the Vikings in each game. Consequently, Minnesota has dropped three straight to Detroit.

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Specifically, the Lions started their three-game win streak against the Vikings with a clutch performance at U.S. Bank Stadium last season. In the game, Minnesota was up 16-13 with 23 seconds to go. But, from their own 25-yard line, Matthew Stafford drove the Lions offense down to the Minnesota 40 in three plays with two seconds to spare. With one of the best long-range kickers in the game, Lions coach Jim Caldwell sent Matt Prater out to nail a 58-yard field goal with time expiring. Soon after, Golden Tate scored the game-winning 28-yard touchdown in overtime.

Fast forward three weeks later, the Vikings headed to Detroit to play the Lions on Thanksgiving. Tied 13-13 with 1:45 remaining in the game, Sam Bradford looked to lead the offense on a game-winning drive that turned into a nightmare rather quickly. On the fourth play of the drive, Bradford attempted to get the ball to Adam Thielen on third down, but Lions cornerback Darius Slay jumped the route for an interception. With great field position at the Minnesota 20, Matt Prater sealed the game for Detroit with a 40-yard field goal as time expired.

If that wasn’t enough misfortune against the Lions, things didn’t get much better in the teams’ first showdown this season. As matter of fact, rookie phenom Dalvin Cook blew out his knee on a non-contact play in the beginning of the second half. Not only did Cook’s season end, but he fumbled the ball resulting in a five play, 29-yard touchdown drive for the Lions. The touchdown was enough to give Detroit the 14-7 win.

Basically, the Vikings have found ways to blow games against the Lions with a bit of bad luck mixed in. Of course, the past is the past, so hopefully, Minnesota comes at it with that mentality. They also ride an impressive six-game win streak heading in, so momentum is definitely on their side at the moment.

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When it’s all set and done though, this Thursday’s game simply comes down to playing mistake-free football and executing at crucial times in the game. In the first game, they won the turnover battle, but the defense failed to execute at the end of the game. In the next two, they lost the turnover battle, which ultimately became too costly to overcome in both games.

While the Vikings shouldn’t dwell on the past, they definitely should learn from it. And if they’ve learned anything, it’s that turnovers are game killers, especially against a team like the Lions.

Luckily, the Vikings have played mistake-free football for a majority of the season with only 10 giveaways, good enough for third fewest in the league. Not to mention, they’ve got the job done during key moments of a game. In the end, this has made the Vikings one of the most dangerous teams out there right now.

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All things considered, the Vikings’ chances of breaking through against the Lions look as good as ever given how well the team is playing right now. As a result, I got Minnesota winning 24-21 over their division rival. Skol Vikes!