By Chris Morgan

When the Detroit Lions take on the Minnesota Vikings on the road this week, one thing that is for certain is that the Lions will have a new kicker. After Alex Henery and his three missed field goals helped cost the Lions a win over the Buffalo Bills last week, he got cut, meaning Detroit will be on their third starting kicker. The Vikings now play their games outdoors, so whomever is doing the kicking for the Lions, they will be doing it in the elements. This is just one of the questions for the Lions as they head into this week.

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Minnesota is currently 2-3 on the year, but they are coming off a blowout loss against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers beats the Vikings by a score of 42-10, but that was on Thursday, so the Vikings get extra time to get ready for this game. That’s good for their quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater, a rookie, missed Thursday’s game due to injury, leaving the Vikings to have to start Christian Ponder under center. Ponder was bad against the Packers, and the Vikings are also without Adrian Peterson due to his legal issues. This leaves Minnesota very shorthanded on offense.

This is good for the Lions, not that they have needed the help on defense. This has been the strength of their team, surprisingly, and they have no reason to fear Minnesota’s offense, even with vaunted offensive coordinator Norv Turner running the offense. He can only do so much with guys like Ponder and Matt Asiata, not to mention questions along the offensive line.

The issues for Detroit, instead, come on offense. Minnesota’s defense obviously just gave up a bunch of points, although the Packers did get a defensive touchdown, but head coach Mike Zimmer knows defense, and the Vikings do have some talents, such as Harrison Smith and Everson Griffen. Meanwhile, kicking woes aside, the Lions did not look good offensively against the Bills. The issue, really, is injuries. Calvin Johnson is banged up, and when he’s not healthy, this offense really takes a dip. He should probably rest his ankle, but will he? Reggie Bush and Joique Bell are dealing with injuries too. The Vikings have been worse against the run than against the pass, but will Detroit even be able to take advantage of that?

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Last week, Matthew Stafford got sacked six times, and struggled a bit. Detroit’s offensive line also needs to be better, and Stafford needs to improve his play. He’s had a couple good games. Can he step up in this matchup? Can he do it without Megatron to throw to? The Lions needs to put more points on the board. They can’t be relying on defensive touchdowns every week

The Lions are the more talented of these two teams, and they really could use a win. If they end up losing this game, a divisional game to boot, they will fall to 3-3, and their playoff prospects will take a major hit. Detroit should have no problems stopping the Vikings on defense, even if Bridgewater plays, but unless they pitch a shutout, the Lions will need to score sometime.

For more Lions news and updates, visit Lions Central.

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Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .