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Vikings-Lions matchup of the day: Tuesday

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Posted Sept. 21, 2010 @ 12:27 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's Week Three battle between the Lions and Vikings:

Vikings receivers vs. Lions secondary

Neither unit has shined to date. The Lions have defended the pass poorly, allowing 609 passing yards, despite the team producing 10 sacks in two games. The m.o. last week was to pressure constantly against Eagles QB Michael Vick, and though it produced some negative plays, Vick was able to evade some rushers and get out of trouble, too. That strategy left the Lions' subpar defensive backs on an island, but it's a situation of damned if you do, damned if you don't, when it comes to the blitz. S Louis Delmas is the unit's best player, but he's working his way back into form after a preseason injury cost him valuable preparation time.

The Vikings' receivers have been disappointing, with Sidney Rice on the PUP list through Week Seven at least. Percy Harvin was slowed by migraines in the preseason and has been hobbled the past week with a hip injury that likely will put his availability for Sunday in some doubt. Meanwhile, Bernard Berrian is off to a slow start, and many have placed blame for a few of Brett Favre's interceptions on the wideout's head. Berrian simply doesn't appear to have the speed or confidence he did two seasons and might be a shadow of his former self. He and Favre are not meshing now, just as they didn't for much of last season.

It's relative weakness against weakness, but it will go a long way toward determining Sunday's outcome. Favre needs downfield targets to open up the box for hard-charging RB Adrian Peterson. He's no stranger to eight-man fronts, but those in turn could provide the one-on-one matchups the Vikings exploited so often last season. Favre carved up the Lions twice last season, but Rice was a factor in both games. He'll have to find help from Harvin (if he plays), Berrian and Greg Camarillo, who might have to be a bigger part of the game plan this week.

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