As Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer is 7-5 at home against NFC North opponents.
A lot of variables have gone into that record, including the fact he’s needed four starting quarterbacks to get through those 12 games. Matt Cassel got hurt. Then Teddy Bridgewater got hurt. Then Sam Bradford got hurt, giving way to Case Keenum.
But, as usual, the primary variable is turnovers.
When Zimmer’s Vikings have won the turnover battle at home against an NFC North team, they are 6-1. When they’ve lost that battle, they’re 0-4. When they’ve tied that battle, they’re 1-0.
The Lions head into Sunday’s game as the only division opponent not to lose at U.S. Bank Stadium. They’re 2-0, including last year’s 14-7 victory that saw them win the turnover battle at plus-3 (3-0). One of those turnovers came via fumble as Dalvin Cook suffered his season-ending ACL tear.
Against the Lions, Zimmer is 1-3 at home and 3-5 overall. Against the Packers, he’s 2-2 at home and 4-4-1 overall. Against Chicago, he’s 4-0 at home and 6-2 overall.
In eight meetings with the Lions, Zimmer’s Vikings are minus-5 in the turnover battle. When they’ve lost that turnover battle, they’re 1-4 overall and 0-2 at home.
So, long story short, if Kirk & Co. want a (recently) rare home win over the Lions, they must hang on to the ball this Sunday.