1. Griffen could be one of Vikings’ all-time greats
Everson Griffen had made one career start, and recorded a modest 17½ sacks, when the Vikings gave him a five-year, $42.5 million contract and made him a starter for the first time at age 27. Three-and-a-half years later, Griffen has 60 sacks, tying him with Kevin Williams for eighth in team history after he posted two more Sunday. He’s got 12 in 11 games this season, and is just 25½ behind what Jared Allen did in 96 career starts — all while being a more committed run defender than Allen was. He’s a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and a couple more strong years could put his name high up on the Vikings’ long list of decorated pass rushers.
2. INT redeems out-of-character day for Rhodes
Xavier Rhodes came into Thursday’s game nursing a calf injury he sustained Sunday, and for perhaps the first time this season, the receiver Rhodes was shadowing (Marvin Jones) got the better of him. Jones caught two TDs against Rhodes, whom the Lions targeted 11 times, according to Pro Football Focus. Rhodes was also flagged for a pair of penalties, but got the last laugh with his game-sealing INT on Matthew Stafford’s fourth-quarter throw to Jones. “I’m more happy about getting the pick to seal the game rather than Marvin catching balls,” he said. “I mean, the referees throwing flags on me, but it’s a team effort, so I helped the team win and I’m proud of that.”
2. Keenum delivers under pressure
Quarterback Case Keenum was hit nine times Sunday, and was pressured on 51.4 percent of his dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. He accepted the blame for a couple of the Lions’ pressures Thursday, but he also hit 21 of his 30 attempts, including a number of big throws — like his 22-yard TD pass to Kyle Rudolph — with a defender bearing down on him. “It’s a lot of drill work, being able to move in the pocket a little bit, keeping your eyes downfield. It’s trusting your guys,” he said. “I trust those guys and when you have that trust it helps.”