Vikings – Lions
Okay, the Vikings are not going to win this game. It's just a matter of how much they are going to lose by. And it could be more than normal if Christian Ponder isn't able to play Sunday. So there is no need to do any kind of analysis of this game.
Do you realize this should be the first sweep of the Vikings by Detroit since 1997?
Lions 31 - Vikings 17
So what are we watching for?
You know, there are still reasons for a diehard to watch the 2-10 Minnesota Vikings. Here is what I'll be paying attention to on Sunday.
Christian Ponder and Joe Webb:
I'll be disappointed if Ponder's hip pointer keeps him out of this game. Even without Ndamukong Suh, the Lions have a strong defensive line. They will be a good test for Ponder if he plays.
On the road, against a team playing for a playoff spot for the first time in a long time – this is a great developmental opportunity for Ponder. However, if he can't play, then it's a great developmental opportunity for Webb.
I gotta say, I get a buzz whenever Webb steps on the field. He's such a great athlete, I'm always anxious to see what he will pull off. Still, I haven't seen a great deal of evidence that he can be an effective NFL quarterback. But if he starts Sunday and can show something, it's gravy for the Vikings. The more Webb flashes as a QB, the more valuable he is as trade bait. The Vikes need draft picks over the next couple of years to rebuild the team - lots of them. Maybe Webb can bring them one in a trade.
Burton only caught two passes against Denver last week. But one went for 21 yards and the other for 17. Considering it was the first time he got meaningful snaps on offence all year, I was encouraged.
Burton's a big guy (6'1, 224 pounds) from a small school. Besides Percy Harvin, the Vikings really haven't had much luck developing their own wide receivers. And the ones they have found – Nate Burleson and Sidney Rice – have been lost in free agency. Burton could be a diamond in the rough.
Look, I don't care how much Greenway signed for this year. He's always been a good, sometimes very good, player for the Vikings and as long as he kept playing that way for the five years of his contract, I was going to be happy.
Unfortunately, Greenway hasn't been playing that way this season. He does have 110 tackles this year, but the impact plays have been very few. His performance last week against the Broncos was a microcosm of his entire season – missed tackles, getting wiped out on blocks, getting beat on pass coverage. I don't think Greenway has lost any skills (he's only 28), but it would be nice to see him have a bounce-back game against the Lions.
Allen isn't going to break Michael Strahan's sack record. He does have a shot at 20 sacks, an impressive feat in itself. It's been a magnificent season for Allen even if it's been a miserable one for the Vikings. Allen always gives you your money's worth.