Vikings vs. Lions: Three matchups to watch

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The Vikings can get back to .500 this week against an NFC North rival.

Minnesota plays Detroit in Week 13. The Vikings are favored for a reason: Minnesota won last time against Detroit and the Lions have zero victories thus far.

The Vikings have a decent chance of getting their 2021 back on track yet again. Here are three key matchups to watch:

DT Michael Pierce vs. C Evan Brown

Syndication: The Enquirer

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told Mark Craig of the Star Tribune and others that he is expecting nose tackle Michael Pierce to be back. That will lead to an interesting matchup in the trenches. Pierce will be lined up against Lions center Evan Brown. Last game, the 49ers demolished the Vikings defense for 208 rushing yards. Pierce can potentially stop that from happening again, especially with Lions RB D’Andre Swift out.

Justin Jefferson vs. the Lions secondary

Photo: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

In his last game against the Lions, Jefferson had 124 receiving yards en route to a close Vikings victory. Minnesota needs Jefferson to step up again. The Vikings offense has to emphasize the passing game against an inferior opponent.

RB Alexander Mattison vs. Lions defense

Photo: Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

Mattison has looked good as the team’s second running back this year. He had a nice touchdown run against the 49ers in Week 12. In Week 13, he will be the starter with Dalvin Cook out for the game. Mattison has to stake his claim as one of the best backup running backs in the NFL.

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