5 Wild Predictions: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions in week 12

The Minnesota Vikings are eyeing a spot atop the NFC North. Here are 5 wild predictions for their week 12 game against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving..

A big win against the Arizona Cardinals in week 11 was a big step in the right direction for the Minnesota Vikings. A win on Thanksgiving Day could be an even bigger step. The Vikings and Lions will battle for the top spot in the NFC North.

Some great play by the defense and special teams allowed the Vikes to top the Cardinals on November 20. In the nail-biter game in week 11, the Vikings needed an interception return for a touchdown and a kick return for a touchdown to pull away.

This is not out of the ordinary for the defensive-minded Vikings. When the Vikings win, the defense and special teams come through with some big plays. When Minnesota loses, the defense and special teams normally take a back-seat.

A lot is at stake in the game against the Detroit Lions. With the Vikings eyeing a spot atop the NFC North on Thanksgiving, here are 5 wild predictions for the game:

Aug 28, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (11) during a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Chargers 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Laquon Treadwell finds steady playing time.

With the Vikings receiving core being very top-heavy, it’s odd that we haven’t seen the likes of Laquon Treadwell more often. Treadwell was our first-round pick after-all. That will all change in week 12.

Treadwell only has one catch for 15 yards this season, but Mike Zimmer knows the Vikings need play-makers. Minnesota cannot depend on defensive and special teams touchdowns every week to win games. Treadwell could be that big play threat.

Obviously, defenses are going to focus on stopping Stefon Diggs, as he has broken out as the Vikings’ clear #1 target this year. Seeing that, Bradford has looked more towards Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson as they have drawn 2nd and 3rd string cornerbacks.

Sam Bradford could use another deep-ball threat, and Laquon Treadwell is exactly that. With the playoffs coming near, the Vikings need something to change something offensively to help them get the ball rolling.

Treadwell has tremendous speed and great hands. He could draw a 2nd or 3rd string cornerback and leave them in the dust. Mike Zimmer will take advantage of that in week 12 with a spot atop the division on the line. Expect to see #11 on the field more often starting on Thanksgiving Day.

Oct 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) signals against the Chicago Bears in the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Stafford gets sacked 5 times.

When given time in the pocket, Matt Stafford is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL. He has a strong arm with precision accuracy. Expect the Vikings to blitz (and hit) him early and often.

The Vikings’ front 7 showed some serious strength in the week 12 game against the Cardinals by hitting Carson Palmer 23 times and sacking him 4 times.

Mike Zimmer said he wanted to go back to doing things his way, and this is exactly what he was talking about. He wants to put pressure on the quarterback, knowing we have one of the strongest pass rushes in the NFL.

While Matt Stafford is fairly mobile, the Minnesota Vikings’ front 7 has a lot of speed as well. If they put pressure on him, it eliminates the big play; and that’s exactly what the Lions beat Minnesota with on November 6.

The Vikings will rush the Lions very often and sack Stafford 5 times. Minnesota needs to continue sending a strong pass rush, as this is the strength of their defense.

Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) throws during the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Bradford throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.

It’s easy to see that the Vikings’ offense runs through Sam Bradford. In his first year with Minnesota, he has been given quite the task: find success with a poor offensive line and a mediocre run game.

So far, Bradford has fulfilled this task. Given the circumstances, Sam Bradford has been brilliant. The offensive line and run game showed some life against the Cardinals in week 11. This will help to open up the field for Bradford.

Vikings’ quarterback Sam Bradford is known for his tremendous arm strength and pin-point accuracy. The biggest worry Vikings’ fans had coming into the season was how injury-prone he has been and the mistakes he is known to make.

He has done great at avoiding both of those down-falls this season. Playing every snap since week 2 and only throwing 2 interceptions all year, Bradford has been beyond efficient. On the big stage on Thanksgiving Day, with a chance to take the division lead, Sammy Sleeves will shine.

Like previously said, Mike Zimmer will be looking for more big plays on Thanksgiving Day, adding Laquon Treadwell to the mix. Expect Bradford to have a huge day with over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon (21) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings rush for less than 50 yards.

The two biggest disappointments for the Minnesota Vikings this season have been the offensive line and the run game. These two go hand-in-hand. The Vikings will struggle to run the ball again in week 12.

The word of Adrian Peterson resuming light running is huge news for the Vikings’ run game, as it continues to struggle. That will not solve the problem for this week, though.

The Detroit Lions have a strong front 7, just like the Minnesota Vikings. Going against a weak offensive line and a sub-par backfield, expect Detroit’s front 7 to feast.

With the release of Ronnie Hillman, the backfield duties will lie solely with Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata. The run game did look better last week, but it’ll be hard to find success in week 12.

The Vikings will have to depend on Sam Bradford for offensive success, as the run game will struggle again. This is what the Vikes are used to now, though, so it’s nothing to worry about.

Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) looks on following the game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings win game 28-14

Vikings’ fans, it’s time to take back the division that belongs to us! A win over the Lions on Thanksgiving day could put the Vikings in prime playoff position, and the team knows it. Zimmer will have the Vikes ready to go come Thursday.

A big day from Sam Bradford will be the headline in the Vikings vs Lions Thanksgiving Day game. Not only will he shine in a big way, he will win the Galloping Gobbler Award.

The defense will stand strong and build off the great performance they had against the Cardinals in week 11. Maybe they won’t have a defensive touchdown, but one won’t be needed.

The Vikings are hungry for the playoffs. They showed that last week against the Cardinals. It was a tough and physical game, and Minnesota had more heart. Now that the 4-game losing streak is behind them, their confidence is through the roof again.

The Minnesota Vikings will improve to 7-4, while the Detroit Lions fall to 6-5, giving the Vikes a one-game lead in the NFC North with just 5 games remaining. This will be a huge step towards a playoff run in the late stages of the season.


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