Lions notebook: Rogers key against Vikings

Shaun Rogers (Getty Images)

When the Lions play host to Minnesota on Sunday, how they stop the run will be critical. The strength of the Vikings' offense is the running game, and they likely will want to run as much as possible to control the ball and keep the Lions' passing attack off the field.

When the Lions play host to Minnesota on Sunday, how they stop the run will be critical. The strength of the Vikings' offense is the running game, and they likely will want to run as much as possible to control the ball and keep the Lions' passing attack off the field.

The good news for the Lions is that they have defensive tackle Shaun Rogers back. Rogers missed the last 10 games of last season. He served a four-game suspension for taking a banned dietary supplement, had knee surgery during the suspension and never came back.

Rogers showed some of his old dominant form in the season opener, a 36-21 victory at Oakland. On one play, he pushed aside an offensive lineman with his left arm, then took down running back LaMont Jordan with his right arm. No gain.

The Lions spotted Rogers about 33 or 34 snaps against the Raiders, but they should be able to play him more against the Vikings.

Marinelli said he preferred to use Rogers on third down situations.

"Sometimes I liked him on third down," said Marinelli. "They were struggling picking him up on third down; their center had problems with him. I might give him a blow on first and second down and get him in on third. The next series, let's start him at first down.

"He's a dominant run player. You have to feel how he is feeling at that moment. Sometimes he got rested for a little bit and he was able to go longer."

In the exhibition season, the Lions generally played their one-gap run defense well. The corners had trouble tackling against Indianapolis, but generally they were willing to put their faces in there.

The Lions' ace in the hole might be rookie safety Gerald Alexander. One of the reasons the Lions liked Alexander in the draft was the tape they saw of him at Boise State -- blowing up an Oklahoma running back in the Fiesta Bowl.

That back was Adrian Peterson.

Player Notes

  • QB Jon Kitna threw two interceptions Sunday, but he was otherwise sharp and excelled in the fourth quarter, where he struggled last year. He took a shot in the back, after having back spasms in the preseason, but he seemed fine.
  • RB Tatum Bell broke some nice runs, including a 14-yard touchdown to ice the game.
  • RB T.J. Duckett suffered a mild high ankle sprain and his status for Wednesday's practice is uncertain.
  • WR Roy Williams caught a touchdown pass, but he had only 20 yards receiving and caused an interception when he slipped and let a ball bounce off his hands.
  • WR Calvin Johnson caught his first touchdown pass. He's still a rookie and isn't as precise as he could be, but he creates matchup problems against everybody.
  • WR Shaun McDonald stood out as the defense paid attention to Williams and Johnson.
  • DT Shaun Rogers played 33 or 34 snaps against the Raiders. The Lions hope to increase that each week.
  • DT Cory Redding is suffering from an elbow problem. He is playing as much as usual, but he didn't seem as effective as usual.
  • FS Gerald Alexander was OK as a rookie starting his first NFL game -- not good, not bad, just OK. The Lions rotated veteran Idrees Bashir often.
  • S Eric Frampton made an impact on special teams, and the coaches took notice.
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