The Detroit Lions are for real, and they owe a big thanks to their rookie class for helping them best the Minnesota Vikings 34-23.
The biggest news of the day came early on, with first-round pick Jameson Williams recording his first career reception.
Williams was activated from the Reserve/Non-football Injury list for last week’s game against Jacksonville, but only took eight snaps on offense. He was targeted once but the pass was short.
Expectations were much higher for Williams going into this game, and he delivered almost immediately.
On the second play of the Lions’ second drive of offense, Jared Goff hit Williams on a 41-yard touchdown. Williams’ speed was on full display, as he even had to slow down and turn around to catch the pass. What was most impressive is that none of the members of Minnesota’s secondary were remotely close to covering him.
The rest of the game wasn’t as spectacular for the rookie. He was targeted once more and dropped the pass. Other than that, his snaps were limited. He did a good job of drawing away defenders on the Justin Jackson touchdown run, as Minnesota had two defenders ready to defend him instead.
The other rookies of Detroit’s 2022 class also made their fair share of contributions to this big win.
Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston continue to make history as a duo of rookie pass rushers. Each of them recorded a sack in the last two games and are currently the first and second sack leaders of this rookie class.
Rookie safety Kerby Joseph was given the impossible task of covering Justin Jefferson. While he wasn’t lined up directly on him, he did have to cover the deep middle of the field and struggled to prevent Jefferson from making plays. At the same time, he did not have the cornerback help he usually gets there.
Joseph had five total tackles on the day and came through in a big way after recovering a goal-line fumble forced by Isaiah Buggs.
Linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez also had five tackles in this game, one of which went for a loss of yardage. The rookie has been instrumental for Detroit’s run defense this season.
Rookies James Mitchell and Josh Paschal were both active and took snaps, but were not able to make impacts in the same way their fellow first-year players did.
Story originally appeared on Lions Wire