For the Detroit Lions, this week is truly a crossroads for their season.
Detroit’s offensive line is banged up this week with Taylor Decker, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and Joe Dahl all making their way to the injury report. At the skill positions, Kenny Golladay, and Jamal Agnew have already been declared out.
With Detroit’s biggest weapon in the passing game already out, the Lions may have to alter their offensive game plan a bit this week.
Who will lead the Lions in targets against the Vikings?
First things first, this will be Golladay’s third absence of the year, but he’s still the team’s third most-targeted wideout with 32 on the season. As far as who will earn snaps in Golladay’s absence, you’d have to imagine Marvin Hall is due to for a substantial uptick in playing time based on the way things played out last week when Golladay left the game with his hip injury.
Hockenson has been Matthew Stafford’s go-to receiver in 2020—Hockenson’s 41 targets leads the team through eight weeks. Despite a toe injury earlier in the week, he will play against the Vikings and should continue to be Stafford’s favorite target against a Minnesota defense that’s no better than average at covering opposing tight ends.
There are a couple of intriguing options that might get more opportunities in the absence of Golladay, and one of those players is rookie Quintez Cephus. In Week 1, Cephus spelled an injured Golladay and racked up a team-high 10 targets. If he sees more of the field, he could be a matchup the Lions try to exploit against a depleted Vikings secondary.
And then there’s Marvin Jones Jr., the longest-tenured wideout the Lions have on the team. Before the bye, Jones had just 19 targets through four games, and only five total targets in Weeks 3 and 4 combined. Since then, Jones has earned more attention, garnering 18 targets in the past three weeks.