Add Aidan Hutchinson to the list of Lions players that would like to get revenge against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.
In the first matchup between the two teams this season (Sept. 25), Detroit blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, and allowed Minnesota to come from behind to win, 28-24.
The loss, which came back in Week 3, still stings for Hutchinson.
“You know, it just stung,” Hutchinson told reporters Thursday. “When you feel like you have control throughout an entire game and then the last couple of drives, they get some stuff. It’s just one of those games that are tough in the NFL. So, we’re looking to get back.”
The rookie EDGE defender and his teammates, after their late-game collapse against Minnesota earlier in the season, are motivated to not allow Sunday’s contest with the Vikings to slip away from them.
“I mean, that last game kind of slipped right through our fingers,” Hutchinson said. “And, it really hurts. So, I think, we all got the right mindset. We’re all so determined for this game, and we know we got our playoff hopes (alive). And, this is a big one, this is a big one we can have in order to take that next step to get in the playoffs. So, man, we’re excited, and we’re locked in. And, I think, at the end of the game, we’re not going to let this one slip, slip through our fingers like it did last time.”
A big key to defeating Minnesota Sunday at Ford Field will be limiting the production of Vikings star wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Detroit did a solid job of it in Week 3, limiting the third-year pro to just three catches for 14 yards (and no touchdowns).
Since that early season contest, Jefferson has produced 100-plus receiving yards in six separate games, including just two weeks ago against the New England Patriots (139 yards).
So, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn understands that it will be a challenge for Detroit to bottle up the big-play receiver a second time this season.
“I will tell you this, it’s hard to try to hold that player to that now. I mean, he is a player that I really, really respect on a number of different levels,” Glenn said of Jefferson Thursday. “Just my own opinion, I think he’s – if not the best receiver, he’s one of the top two. And, the reason I say that is not just because of the production. I think he’s – he embodies everything I think a football player should be about. I think he’s tough, I think he’s competitive. Man, you see him take some hits, and he gets right back up and gets ready to play. So, he’s an Aaron Glenn type of guy, but we have to get after him just like we did last time.”
When Glenn’s unit takes the field Sunday, it’ll be lining up against a familiar face in tight end end T.J. Hockenson.
Hockenson, who spent the first three-and-a-half seasons of his NFL career in the Motor City, was dealt to the Vikings at the Nov. 1 trade deadline.
Since joining Detroit’s NFC North rivals, he’s caught 30 balls for 225 yards and a score in five games.
“He’s just another player on another team that we’ve got to watch out for. I mean, that’s the truth,” Glenn said of game-planning for Hockenson. “I mean, every team we’ve played against have good quarterbacks, good receivers, good tight ends, so he’s just another player that we’ve got to worry about. And, we’ll do a good job against him.
“They are utilizing him, they are especially in the red zone. I think he has the same amount of targets since he’s gotten there in the red zone as (Vikings WR Adam) Thielen, who’s a big red-zone target. So, obviously, they want to give him the ball in that area, and he’s a big body, so I can understand.”
Hutchinson, for one, is looking forward to playing against his former teammate.
“I always got along with T.J.,” Hutchinson said. “So, I’m sure it’ll be fun seeing him out there. I’ll talk a little s***, and I’m sure he’ll talk a little s***. So, it’ll be good.”