WEEK 2: Noon VS. DETROIT LIONS • Ch. 9 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

23

Vikings

20

Lions

One man’s prediction: The loss to the 49ers was alarming, leaving the Vikings with a bunch of issues to address on a short week. They wouldn’t have time to shore up all of them in five days to beat the Lions, but they better have plugged up their run defense and settled down their young quarterback if they want to win. Do I feel great about this prediction? Absolutely not. But I picked Mike Zimmer’s team to go 9-7, so I’m doubling down.

Three keys

- Another clunker?

Second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater appeared to be rattled in the Monday night spotlight, and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer admitted as much. Bridgewater didn’t agree with that word choice, but he did say he was too amped up and played too fast against the 49ers. Zimmer doesn’t believe that Bridgewater is “going to throw another clunker” against the Lions, but he did struggle as a rookie against a good Detroit defense last season.

- Stretched too thin

The other primary factor in the 20-3 loss to the 49ers was run defense. The Vikings ranked 25th in that category a season ago, and looked even worse Monday night. Missing tackles and coming up with no answers for the 49ers’ stretch runs to the outside, the Vikings allowed 230 yards to the 49ers and Carlos Hyde. Up next is electric Lions rookie back Ameer Abdullah, who averaged 7.1 yards per carry in his NFL debut.

- Shotgun wedding

Adrian Peterson was a nonfactor in his return, rushing for just 31 yards on 10 carries against the 49ers. His small workload led to outrage on talk radio and social media, but Peterson reiterated that he trusts offensive coordinator Norv Turner to give him the ball and put him in a position to succeed. Turner wouldn’t say if he plans to make schematic changes, but I expect to still see plenty of the shotgun spread.

Player to watch

 

Calvin Johnson, Lions WR

The man they call Megatron caught just two passes last weekend, leading to questions in Detroit about why the heck Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford wasn’t getting his star receiver the ball. That should change today against the Vikings, a team Johnson has tormented in the past. Will young cornerback Xavier Rhodes draw that assignment again or will Zimmer keep his corners on their respective sides?