The Minnesota Vikings visit the Detroit Lions in Week 12 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Elliott Rooney
Matchup: Minnesota Vikings offense vs. Detroit Lions defense
- QB Case Keenum vs. S Glover Quin – Keenum will be up against one of the best secondary’s in the NFL on Sunday. Keenum will be looking to pass the ball downfield on Sunday, something he has done often this season with 13.3 percent of his attempts being targeted 20 or more yards downfield, the eight-highest rate among quarterbacks. His 18 completions on such passes are also the fifth most. Detroit has one of the best deep safeties in the NFL this season in Quin, who is having a career year with an overall PPF grade of 90.1. Quin has only lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage on 39 percent of his snaps this season, so he will be the last line of defense for the Lions. He has excelled in coverage this season with the second-highest coverage grade by a safety at 90.5 and he is only allowing a passer rating of 42.9 when targeted.
- T Rashod Hill vs. Edge Anthony Zettel – Since Week 7 Hill has been one of the best pass blockers, with the fifth-highest pass-block grade among offensive tackles at 85.3 and he has the third-best pass-blocking efficiency at 98.1. He only allowed three total pressures in that time. One area he has struggled in is run blocking, where his 36.1 run-blocking grade ranks 72nd among 78 offensive tackles. Zettel has been having a breakout second year in the NFL and could cause Hill some problems in the run game. Zettel has the 28th highest run-defense grade this season at 81.0 and his 11 stops in run defense rank 34th.
- WR Adam Thielen vs. CB Darius Slay – This game will feature a battle between two top-10 graded players at their position. Thielen is PFF’s fifth-highest graded receiver in 2017 with an overall grade of 86.5. He has been one of the more productive receivers running routes this year, with a 2.61 yards per route run mark that ranks third. Slay is the eighth-highest graded corner with a career high overall PFF grade of 88.9. Slay is giving up a passer rating of 61.2 when targeted, which is fifth best in the NFC, and is giving up 1.02 yards per cover snap.
PFFELO Ranking: 15
Coverage by: Brett Whitefield
Matchup: Detroit Lions offense vs. Minnesota Vikings defense
- G Graham Glasgow vs. DI Linval Joseph – When these two teams met in Week 4, Glasgow and Joseph almost missed each other with Joseph lining up on the left side on 32 of 43 snaps. Glasgow pitched a perfect game in pass-protection, not allowing a single pressure on the quarterback while Joseph produced two pressures and five stops. Over the last three weeks however, Joseph has spent much more of his time on lining up on the right side, 66 percent of his snaps, giving this potential matchup some steam heading into this week. Glasgow has improved his play steadily this season and now ranks 22nd among guards with an overall grade of 75.6. He has been solid in both pass protection and as a run blocker; his pass-blocking efficiency of 97.1 is the top mark among Lions offensive lineman. Joseph on the other hand has been dominant at times this season, especially stopping the run. His run-stop percentage of 12.9 ranks third among interior defenders.
- WR Marvin Jones vs. CB Xavier Rhodes – Jones’ four touchdowns on deep targets (20-plus yards downfield) are tied for the most in the NFL. His nine receptions and 285 yards rank fourth and sixth receptively. Jones’ play has been on the rise ever since a poor Week 4 performance against the Vikings in which he posted a game grade of 44.3. He has produced a grade of 75.0 or better in four of his last six games, including an 89.8 game grade in Week 9. After an early season struggle with penalties and costly mistakes, Rhodes’ play has been much better of late. Currently he ranks just outside of the top-20 positionally with an overall grade of 82.4. Not having given up a reception on a deep target since Week 2, Rhodes makes for an exciting matchup in an attempt to cool Jones down.
- RB Theo Riddick vs. LB Eric Kendricks – While he hasn’t quite been as utilized this season as seasons past, Riddick has produced the 12th highest receiving grade among running backs with a mark of 80.4. Riddick has also produced a yards per route run average of 1.72, the ninth highest mark among running backs with at least 25 targets. Riddick has been a tough to get on the ground this season and with 20 forced missed tackles on just 73 touches he has produced a forced missed tackle to touch ratio of 27.3 percent, the third highest among running backs with at least 60 touches. This could be a problem for Kendricks, who enters Thursdays matchup ranking just 90th out of 119 qualifiers in tackling efficiency with a mark of 7.2. While defending the pass he has missed seven tackles on just 27 tackle attempts. His overall grade of 46.3 ranks 59th among linebackers.