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Vikings vs. Lions: Detroit loses third game in a row with 20-13 defeat at home

With their 20-13 loss at home to the Vikings, the Lions have now lost three games in a row.

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34 Total Updates since September 25, 2012
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Calvin Johnson suffered concussion against Vikes

Lions WR Calvin Johnson admitted this week that he sustained a concussion against the Vikings and kept playing.

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Detroit Lions defense ranks near bottom of NFL

The Detroit Lions secondary is tied for last in the NFL when it comes to snatching interceptions, and the defense as a whole is No. 26 in total points allowed. It has been a rough start to the 2012 season.

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Louis Delmas returns to Lions secondary

Lions' safety Louis Delmas returned to practice for the first time since July.

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Lions fall further down power rankings

The Detroit Lions continued to slip in the power rankings after dropping a game to the Minnesota Vikings.

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Reactions from Lions' Week 4 loss to the Vikings

The Detroit Lions are off to a 1-3 start, which has Pride Of Detroit's Sean Yuille calling for changes to be made between now and when the Lions return to action in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

A 1-3 start is inexcusable, and the Lions are just an absolute mess. Certainly they've been the victim of some bad luck, but that is not why they are 1-3. They are 1-3 because they are not a good team ... Changes need to be made, both from a coaching and personnel standpoint, if the Lions are going to get this season turned around and prevent it from being a wasted year. I certainly hope they use their bye week wisely.

The Lions haven't lost a game by more than one score, so to say they're a "victim of some bad luck" is certainly valid.

On the Vikings' side of things, The Daily Norseman's Christopher Gates wants to sit back and enjoy the unexpected success of Minnesota's young football team:

The Minnesota Vikings are 3-1, and in sole possession of first place in the NFC North for the first time in 1,001 days. And we, as fans, should be enjoying the heck out of it. After last season, nobody deserves to be pleasantly surprised more than we do.

As Gates notes in the article, the Vikings beat a divisional foe for the first time in two years, and won their first road game within the division since Brett Favre beat the Green Bay Packers in 2009.

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Cliff Avril's back injury not serious

An MRI on Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril's back revealed no serious injury

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Lions special teams coach's job is safe

Despite giving up two more special teams touchdowns on Sunday, Danny Crossman's job is safe.

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Cliff Avril injures back, hopes to not miss a game

Detroit's star defensive end left Sunday's game with a back injury, but will have two weeks to recover as the team enters its bye week.

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Vikings ride kick return TD's to win over Lions

The Minnesota Vikings couldn't move the ball much on offense, force many turnovers or shut down Matthew Stafford, but they rode a couple of monster special teams plays to a 20-13 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon.

With Percy Harvin and Marcus Sherels proving to be the heros of the day, the Vikings managed to pull off an impressive road victory in spite of the pass offense's struggles. Harvin's 105-yard kickoff return to open the game gave Minnesota a lead that it would never relinquish, partially thanks to Sherels' 77-yard punt return score in the third quarter.

One of the game's most dynamic playmakers, Harvin made his presence felt on the absolute first play:

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The 24-year-old now has five career kick return touchdowns, including at least one in each of his four NFL seasons. Just a couple quarters later, Sherels would score his first career touchdown in dazzling fashion:

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Those two scores nearly put the game away, but the Lions would rally in the fourth quarter and nearly force overtime. After failing to reach the end zone in the first three quarters, Stafford led Detroit on an 11-play, 75-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to put the Lions within a touchdown of tying.

Minnesota wasn't able to run out the clock as Detroit's defense continued its strong effort, but punter Chris Kluwe pinned the ball inside the 2-yard line without much time remaining.

The Lions did have a small chance of mounting a long, game-tying drive, even converting a 4th-and-10 with the game on the line, but ultimately the Vikings' defense held on, preventing Detroit from converting another hail mary one week doing so.

Fantasy Studs/Duds: Adrian Peterson got in his usual work on Sunday, rushing 21 times for 102 times in addition to catching four passes for 20 yards, although he never scored a touchdown. Stafford finishes with 319 yards passing, with 54 of those yards going to Calvin Johnson.

For more, check out SB Nation's fantasy page.

Odds: The Lions were favored by six points, so obviously those betting on them didn't win.

For more on odds and gambling, check out SB Nation's odds page.

Injury Info: Lions defensive end Cliff Avril left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent back injury. He didn't return even though he was initially listed as questionable after the play. Vikings wide receiver Michael Jenkins also suffered a rib injury during the game.

Next Up: The 3-1 Vikings now return home to host the Tennessee Titans next Sunday. The 1-3 Lions travel east to try to shift their fortunes against the Philadelphia Eagles.

This story originally appeared at SB Nation.

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Vikings vs. Lions inactives

The Minnesota Vikings have declared seven players inactive for Sunday's contest with the Detroit Lions: linebacker Erin Henderson, quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, wide receivers Stephen Burton and Jarius Wright, safeties Andrew Sendejo and Mistral Raymond and lineman Mark Asper.

For the Detroit Lions, defensive tackle Corey Williams, safeties Amari Spievey and Louis Delmas, linebacker Travis Lewis, tackle Jason Fox and quarterback Kellen Moore are inactive Sunday. Delmas has missed all of the 2012 thus far after undergoing knee surgery in August. Corey Williams underwent knee surgery this past Tuesday and is considered week-to-week.

Henderson, the Vikings linebacker, has been ruled out with concussion symptoms. He has not practiced or played since Sept. 19 when he first reported the injury. Henderson's absence is a huge blow to the Vikings defense, as he was the team's leading tackler through two games.

Rookie wide receiver Jarius Wright is still out with an ankle injury he suffered in the preseason. Wright was a fourth-round selection by the Minnesota Vikings out of Arkansas.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's status was in question following a leg injury he sustained last week, but he will be active Sunday.

Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder is active despite a neck injury he has dealt with all week. Ponder has played exceptionally for the 2-1 Minnesota Vikings and looks to keep his team at the top of the NFC North standings with a win Sunday against Detroit.

This story originally appeared on SBNation.com.

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Lions look to pull even with Vikings

With one team coming off a 3-13 season and another coming off 10-6, most would assume that the Lions would've been ahead of the Vikings by the time the two faced each other in Week 4. Instead it's the Vikings with a 2-1 record, while the Lions have floundered to a 1-2 start.

Despite 583 yards of total offense in Week 3, the Lions were unable to hold off Jake Locker and the Titans, losing 44-41 in overtime. The Vikings, on the other hand, managed to pull one of Week 3's biggest upsets by taking out the 49ers, a team that many believed to be the top team in the NFL prior to the loss.

Regardless of the records though, and despite the recent successes of the Vikings, the Lions will still enter the game as favorites when they host the NFC North opponent on Sunday.

However, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the playing status of the game's two starting quarterbacks, Matt Stafford and Christian Ponder. Both Stafford and Ponder, injured with hip and neck injuries respectively, are listed as questionable for the game.

Game Date/Time: Sunday, Sept. 30; 1 p.m. ET

Location: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

TV Schedule
National: FOX

TV Distribution Map: The506.com

Radio Schedule
Vikings: KFAN (FM 100.3)
Lions: 97.1 FM

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Kevin Smith prepared for drop on RB depth chart

Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith has suffered through plenty of disappointment during his NFL career, so the recent ascension of Mikel Leshoure to the top of the depth chart and the impending return of Jahvid Best isn't going to rattle him. The 25-year-old former third-round pick from the 2008 NFL Draft has not been healthy enough to play a full slate of 16 games since his rookie season, but at this point in his career he considers himself a veteran leader who is motivated by more than just playing time (via the Detroit Free Press):

"I play for my teammates and obviously this organization, so if they needed me to sing Lions marching down the field, seriously, I'm all for it," Smith said. "Whatever they ask. I have no problems, I'm not frustrated at all. Obviously I want to play. Obviously I want to play, but if I'm not playing I stay in my guys' ears, I still consider myself the leader of this group."

Smith has played in three games and started two so far in 2012, rushing for 115 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries.

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Kyle Vanden Bosch says the Lions need more sacks

Kyle Vanden Bosch and the Detroit Lions defense hit Tennessee's Jake Locker only once in their last game, and Vanden Bosch says that just isn't acceptable. The Lions defensive lineman spoke to the media on Wednesday, and he had the following to say on the lack of pressure (via Mlive.com):

"To have a game where the quarterback drops back 40-some times and he gets hit once, it's unacceptable for this defensive line, said Vanden Bosch. "And we understand the expectations, and we understand in order for this defense to work, in order for this team to be a good team and win a lot of games this year, we have to get back there and get more hits and get more sacks."

"But we do the right things in practice. We prepare the right way. We have the right tools to get back there, but for whatever reason, it didn't happen on Sunday. Now, we don't go into this week and panic, we don't go into this week and press, we don't look for a new way to reinvent pass rush. We go and do the same things we've been doing, go with what we believe in - some of the things that got us there last year, and it'll work. Hopefully, this week we'll get back on track and get a bunch of sacks and a bunch of hits on the quarterback and affect the game, make him float some balls and throw some interceptions. Get back to the type of defensive line play we're used to seeing around here."

The Lions are expecting the Vikings to be focused on getting the ball out on time, and Vanden Bosch understands that they'll need to take advantage any time the opposing offense does not. The Lions defense has registered seven sacks thus far in 2012, down slightly from the pace of their 41 sack season in 2011.

The Vikings offensive line has done a decent job in keeping Christian Ponder upright so far in 2012. The second year quarterback has been sacked a total of six times in Minnesota's first three games, the Vikings will need to continue that good protection if they hope to improve to 3-1 on the year.

The Lions will host the Vikings on Sunday from Ford Field in Detroit. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET, with FOX televising the game.

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Stafford, Scheffler return to practice Thursday

Hopeful to start this Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford made his triumphant return to practice on Thursday and was among seven Detroit players listed as limited participants on the team's latest injury report.

Stafford's status entering the week appeared uncertain after he left his team's Week 3 loss with a hip injury, but the fourth-year signal caller provided a huge motivational boost by suiting up for Thursday's practice. Even though Stafford was a limited participant, he still has a great chance to start against the Vikings if he can avoid any setbacks.

Also returning to practice on Thursday were a pair of Stafford's favorite targets in tight end Tony Scheffler and receiver Titus Young. Scheffler injured his calf against San Francisco in Week 2 and was forced to sit out against the Titans, while Young missed Wednesday's practice with a knee injury. Both were limited on Thursday along with Stafford, but also are expected to see the field this weekend.

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Lions lose DT Williams for at least one week

The Detroit Lions defense has lost DT Corey Williams for at least one week due to knee surgery.

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Detroit favored over Vikings despite recent losses

The Detroit Lions are riding two-straight losses, but they face a relatively easier opponent in Week 4 in the Minnesota Vikings. Then again, divisional matchups can never be taken for granted, and the Lions need only look to last week for a reason to not overlook the Vikings: their win over the San Francisco 49ers. Minnesota went out there and made the 49ers look bad with a strong offensive showing, while San Francisco handily beat the Lions in Week 2.

If Minnesota's offense can do the same things it did against San Francisco's, then the Lions could be in trouble. They haven't looked their best this season, while the Matthew Stafford-led offense can be inconsistent at times. That being said, the Lions are generally favored around the Internet when it comes to the picks and predictions.

ESPN had 11 of their 13 experts take Detroit over Minnesota, with Merril Hoge and Mike Ditka being the lone dissenters. The trend continues over at CBS Sports, where seven of their nine experts take Detroit, the home team, as well. Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports piles it on with his pick of Detroit and it becomes clear the national media is not entirely hot on Minnesota and their big win in Week 3.

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Matt Stafford is quiet about any injury details

Matthew Stafford wasn't talking at Lions' practice about his injury on Wednesday.

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Matthew Stafford misses Wednesday practice

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford -- who is dealing with the effects of a leg injury that he aggravated last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans -- did not practice with the team on Wednesday. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Stafford did not limp or look injured as he left the team's practice facility, but his status for this week's game against the Minnesota Vikings is still up in the air.

Stafford left last Sunday's loss to the Titans late in the fourth quarter after he aggravated a leg injury that he suffered in practice last week. Stafford said on Monday that his leg was "sore" and that he feels like he could play on Sunday. Complicating matters a bit for Detroit is that the team has skidded to a 1-2 start to begin the season and will be playing a divisional opponent this week.

Stafford has dealt with injuries throughout his career, but he appeared in all 16 of Detroit's games in 2011. He has gotten off to a disappointing start in 2012, though, throwing three touchdowns to four interceptions and stumbling to a 83.5 quarterback rating.

This story originally appeared at SB Nation.

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