Vikings without Harrison Smith, Garrett Bradury, Christian Darrisaw at Lions

Christian Darrisaw #71 of the Minnesota Vikings blocks during an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  ((Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images))

The Minnesota Vikings face the Detroit Lions at Ford Field at noon Sunday, a game you can watch on Fox 9. The team is calling it a "T-shirt and hat" game, meaning they’ll be in a celebratory mood if they complete the season sweep.

The Vikings, with a win Sunday, clinch their first NFC North Division title since 2017 and guarantee themselves at least one home playoff game. Their magic number is one after holding off the New York Jets 27-22 last Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

If they beat the Lions, they’ll have to do it without two starting offensive linemen, and starting safety Harrison Smith. Christian Darrisaw, who had been out after suffering his second concussion in as many weeks against the Dallas Cowboys, was cleared from protocols earlier this week and told reporters he was "good to go." But he’s inactive, as the team is playing his return cautiously. The Vikings are also without center Garrett Bradbury, who is inactive due to a back injury.

It’s the first injury-related missed start of Bradbury’s career. He missed time last season on the COVID-19 list. Austin Schlottmann will start at center, and Blake Brandel will start at tackle.

Smith missed Wednesday’s practice with an illness, then appeared on the injury report with a back issue. Josh Metellus will get the start in his spot. Akayleb Evans is also out due to a concussion suffered against the Jets.

The Vikings will get Cam Dantzler back from an ankle injury that forced him to miss the last four games. He was activated from injured reserve earlier this week.

The week started with five players, Smith included, being out of practice Wednesday due to illness. The others – C.J. Ham, Patrick Peterson and Danielle Hunter among starters, were all back by Friday. 

The Vikings are looking for a sweep of the Lions after getting a 28-24 win over Detroit back in Week 2. The game also marks the return of tight end T.J. Hockenson to face Lions for the first time since being traded to the Vikings. The Lions drafted Hockenson No. 8 overall in 2019.

The Vikings are finding ways to win, and are now 9-0 in one-score games after going just 6-8 in such a scenario last year. 

Kevin O’Connell has handed out his share of game balls in postgame speeches this season, and there will be more if the Vikings can win their first division title in five seasons. They’ve already won at least 10 games for the fifth time since 2012, and are battling for home field in the playoffs.