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Vikings-Lions matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Posted Dec. 29, 2010 @ 7:04 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Let's take a look at a key matchup as the Vikings get set to take on the Lions in Detroit in the final game of the 2010 season:

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson vs. Lions front seven

The Lions historically haven't had a lot of luck stopping Peterson, and when they have, their selling out to the run opened up big things in the passing game. The same can be said for the teams' matchup back in Week Three, when Peterson gashed the Lions for 23-160 rushing with an 80-yard score. The Lions put eight in the box to stop Peterson, but it ended up backfiring on the long TD because he simply outran all the defenders who couldn't tackle him close to the line of scrimmage. Peterson also had another rushing TD from six yards out, powering through tackles, and broke a few other tackle attempts in one of his best games of the season.

Since then, especially in recent weeks, the run defense has improved. Getting MLB DeAndre Levy healthy and back in the lineup full time has helped immensely; the Lions have started five different players at the spot this season. The defensive line, led by DT Ndamukong Suh, has been disrupting opposing offensive lines, and the Vikings are shorthanded and a bit banged up, coming off a short week of rest with the Tuesday game. In that game, Peterson appeared to show little ill effect from his thigh and knee injuries. He will be tough to take down in the inside and outside zone series and will be a chore for the Lions' defenders to stop in the power run game.

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