Vikings: 3 keys to beating Detroit

The Minnesota Vikings are looking to pick up their third win of the season this week as they take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Both teams are fighting through a tough stretch of injuries.

Here are the three keys to a Vikings victory Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium:

1. Keep the coverage tight on T.J. Hockenson

The Lions will be without top wide receiver Kenny Golladay who’s out with a hip injury he suffered last week against Indianapolis.

That means second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson will be a big focus of Detroit’s passing game. Hockenson has 29 catches for 321 yards and four touchdowns this season.

"He does a great job on the top of his routes. He catches the ball really well," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said about Hockenson. "He looks faster to me this year. He’s a really good player and we’ll have to pay special attention to him."

Detroit’s big playmaker on the outside is Marvin Jones. He scored two touchdowns last Sunday against the Colts. He’ll look to make a big impact against a depleted Vikings secondary. Vikings cornerbacks Cam Dantzler (concussion), Mark Fields (chest) and Holton Hill (foot) were all ruled out on Friday.

2. Keep grinding on the ground

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Vikings pounded the ball with Dalvin Cook last week at Lambeau Field and look for them to do that again Sunday against the Lions.

Dalvin Cook was the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after compiling 226 yards from scrimmage and scoring four touchdowns against the Packers.

The Vikings offensive line has struggled in pass protection at times this season, so controlling the game on the ground is the way to go against the Lions who are giving up 4.3 yards per carry this season and have allowed 11 rushing touchdowns.

3. Find success on 3rd down

The Vikings and Lions are both near the bottom of the NFL in converting 3rd downs this season.

Detroit ranks 24th in the NFL converting 40% of their 3rd down chances, while the Vikings are 27th at 39.13%.

The team that can move the chains more often will likely be the team that wins the game.