Can you believe it's week 13 of the NFL season already? Time flies.
The 5-6 Vikings are in Detroit today to take on the 0-10-1 Lions in a game that is a must-win for Minnesota for a multitude of obvious reasons. They need this win to get back to .500 and keep pace in the NFC wild card race, but they also simply need it to avoid the embarrassment of handing the Lions their first victory of the season.
The Vikings are pretty shorthanded in this game, which isn't ideal. They're without Dalvin Cook, Christian Darrisaw, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Patrick Peterson, Danielle Hunter, and Everson Griffen. That's seven starters, including five on the defensive side of the ball. The offensive line and linebacker corps are going to look a lot different today.
Still, there's no excuse for losing this game, regardless of who may or may not be available today. As long as the Vikings have Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Harrison Smith, and others, they have all they need to get the win. Getting Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson back against a Lions offense missing D'Andre Swift helps, too.
From left to right, the Vikings' offensive line is Oli Udoh, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Mason Cole, and Brian O'Neill. That's three changes from the last few games, including a risky experiment with Udoh moving from RG to LT.
Follow along below for live updates throughout the game, and follow me on Twitter for additional analysis and highlights.
Live Score Updates
Final score: Lions 29, Vikings 27. Detroit wins it on the final play of the game.
Vikings 27, Lions 23
1:50 — Touchdown, Vikings. Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson for the 11th time today gives the Vikings their first lead since 6-0. The two-point try was once again unsuccessful. Gonna come down to Jared Goff.
4:01 — Dan Campbell rolled the dice and it backfired. He went for it on 4th and 1 deep in his own territory and Blake Lynch forced and recovered a Goff fumble.
8:34 — There's the first big Jared Goff mistake. He throws a pick right to Cameron Dantzler on third down and the Vikings take over.
Lions 23, Vikings 21
11:57 — The Vikings' offense continues to find its groove. A touchdown pass from Cousins to K.J. Osborn gets them closer, but Alexander Mattison was stuffed on the two-point try.
Lions 23, Vikings 15
1:56 — A Bashaud Breeland pass interference penalty helps set the Lions up for another field goal from Riley Patterson. They add to their lead, but it's still a one-score game.
Lions 20, Vikings 15
6:13 — That's more like it from the Vikings' offense. A huge play to Justin Jefferson sets up an Alexander Mattison touchdown run, but the two-point try was stuffed. They've taken the momentum back.
7:49 — The Vikings' defense looks like it woke up at halftime. That's another three-and-out, this one with a Bashaud Breeland TFL on first down and a Blake Lynch sack on third down.
Lions 20, Vikings 9
9:26 — The Vikings get a stop on defense and an impressive drive on offense, but it ends in frustrating fashion again. Tyler Conklin committed a killer holding penalty, then nearly made up for it with a spectacular touchdown grab but couldn't quite keep his second foot inbounds.
Lions 20, Vikings 6
0:06 — Mike Zimmer decided to go for it on fourth down, the Vikings got stopped, and it cost them three points. The Lions tack on another field goal and get the ball to start the second half
Lions 17, Vikings 6
1:33 — After a Vikings punt, a long Lions drive ends in a short field goal. The Vikings absolutely need points before the half.
Lions 14, Vikings 6
9:45 — This is going quite poorly for the Vikings. Kirk Cousins was stripped after the refs missed a facemask penalty, and the Lions quickly marched down and scored another touchdown. Minnesota desperately needs to respond here.
Lions 7, Vikings 6
13:50 — The Lions' offense has woken up. Two straight throws from Jared Goff to T.J. Hockenson over the middle of the field result in a touchdown for Detroit, who takes its first lead.
Vikings 6, Lions 0
0:59 — Poor red zone play leads to another field goal attempt for the Vikings. Justin Jefferson has two big catches already, but not much else is working well for this offense. Adam Thielen hasn't returned to the game.
5:10 — A D.J. Wonnum unblocked sack caps an easy three and out for the Minnesota defense.
Vikings 3, Lions 0
6:49 — Another disappointing series for the Vikings' offense ends with a checkdown on third down, but they do get the lead on a Greg Joseph field goal.
9:40 — The Vikings respond right away by stuffing the Lions on fourth-and-1. They've got the ball back with great field position.
12:35 — More injury concerns for the Vikings. A WR screen to Adam Thielen is unsuccessful on third-and-9, and Thielen appeared to get his left ankle rolled up on. He had to exit the game.