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Published: Tuesday, 12/24/2013

1 to go for disappointing Lions, Vikings


ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions' shot at a postseason berth ended with a loss to the New York Giants. Their players said not to expect them to go through the motions when they end the regular season on Sunday.

The Lions (7-8) visit Minnesota, and even though both teams are playing their final games, Detroit expects the Vikings to be ready in the final NFL game at Mall of America Field.

"They're going to be ready," guard Rob Sims said. "Even though they've been out of it for a while. This is still a professional league and you still do what you're paid to do."

Lions players remained upbeat days after Detroit missed a chance to keep playoff hopes alive. The 23-20 overtime loss to New York means Chicago and Green Bay will play a winner-take-all game on Sunday for the NFC North title.

Defensive end Israel Idonije, a 10-year veteran, said he and others know changes are coming.

"Players come, players go," he said. "This game is full of transition. You just hope that transition is limited.

"We still have a game to play."

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he recently addressed his job status with his players. Frazier's job could be on the line after Minnesota (4-10-1) followed last season's playoff appearance with a last-place finish in the division.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, however, did not share any concerns about his job security.

"He didn't say anything," receiver Nate Burleson said. "It's business as usual.

"We still have a game to play, and we need to focus on that. That's what he said. We get paid to play football. It's not our job to worry about what will happen."

It's been widely speculated Schwartz will be fired next week. The Lions started the season 6-3 but lost five of their next six games to fall out of playoff contention. Schwartz guided the Lions to a wild-card appearance after the 2011 season, his third, but Detroit followed with a 4-12 performance that included a season-ending eight-game losing streak in 2012.

Burleson said the Lions are eager to make a strong impression in the season finale.

"It would look even worse to people that still are following this team if we went to Minnesota and mailed it in," he said.


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