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5 Lions Players to Watch against Minnesota Vikings in Week 13

Read more on the five Detroit Lions players to watch in the team's Week 13 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.

It is a story of two teams headed in different directions, when Minnesota travels to Detroit this Sunday for the 121st meeting between these two teams.

Minnesota (5-6) is fighting for its playoff lives, while Detroit (0-10-1) is doing what it can to secure the top pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

While the playoffs do not hang in the balance for Detroit, these five guys are out there fighting just as hard for different reasons.

RB Jermar Jefferson

Considered a long shot to make the roster as a seventh-rounder in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jefferson has found a way to do just that. With the injury to starter D’Andre Swift, this bumps Jefferson a step up on the depth chart temporarily, behind running back Jamaal Williams. It also means when Williams needs a breather, Jefferson’s number will be called.

This could be the chance he needs, and it may be his only chance to prove he belongs. While Jefferson has not seen a lot of action in 2021, he has been opportunistic when his number has been called. Jefferson has averaged 9.4 yards per carry (on five rushes), and he has found the end zone twice.

“I’m going to shock the world,” said Jefferson after the draft.

Well, here’s your chance, kid.

WR Josh Reynolds

His production in his brief time in Detroit has been up and down, like a yo-yo. One week, Reynolds has posted some stats and the next week, he has done little-to-nothing. Last week was his biggest game in Detroit, which if the trend stays true, he will not be heard from again against Minnesota.

Reynolds can not let that happen. This team needs players who are consistent for the future, and if Reynolds wants to be a part of this, he needs to show he can be productive in back-to-back games. Last week against Chicago, Reynolds had three catches (targeted five times) for 70 yards (23.3 YPC avg.) and a touchdown.

Look for Lions quarterback Jared Goff to try to find Reynolds again, like he did last week on that 39-yard touchdown pass. The two spent time together on the Rams, and they might just be starting to click again.

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TE T.J. Hockenson

"Mr. Lion," a seasoned professional, has become the stabilizing player on this roster. Week in and week out, he goes out there and does his thing like he does not even know what the team’s record is. If there is one Lions player deserving of the Pro Bowl this season, it would be Hockenson.

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When it is all said and done in 2021, look for Hockenson to be back up around his previous average of 88 catches per season, which is saying a whole lot about him considering the erratic play at QB.

Hockenson was relatively quiet the last time these two teams met, catching only two passes for a domestic 22 yards. Historically, Minnesota has, in fact, been able to keep Hockenson in check. It will be interesting to see if he can break out of that trend in this one.

CB Jerry Jacobs

Nobody quite knows what to think about Jacobs' last game against Minnesota. Jacobs backed off, and let Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen play catch, to set up the the game-winning field goal for the Vikings. As they say on social media, “It was not a good look.”

Jacobs has been drawing praise from coaches who say he is showing steady improvement. He will need to show even more improvement this week, and he needs to show he can redeem himself against Thielen, who has caught 20 passes and four touchdowns over the last four games.

LB Alex Anzalone

He deserves credit for coming on this season and becoming the leading tackler on Detroit’s defense. He will need to continue adding to those tackling statistics this week against a Vikings team that ranks 16th overall in rushing.

Despite starting running back Dalvin Cook being out with injury, his backup in Alexander Mattison is just as much of a problem.

In the earlier season matchup, Mattison carried the ball 25 times for 113 yards, and he added seven catches for 40 yards. While some of his runs were outside, many were right up the gut, into the jaws of the Lions’ defense (where Anzalone resides).